Havas study: Why less is more when it comes to consumption

We live in a world of overconsumption - and it is brands that should inspire consumers to be more frugal. That is the result of a new study by Havas.

Image: Etienne Girardet; Unsplash.

Many people around the world are turning to a lifestyle of more conscious consumption. There is a movement toward less consumption, a focus on minimalism and acceptance of the sharing economy. For example, 78 percent of prosumers believe they could be happy in a more frugal world. Happiness, for three-quarters of prosumers, can be found in being content with the simple things. But what does frugality mean? Primarily, it's wasting less on food and appliances (82%), saving energy (78%), giving up non-essentials (76%), and making better purchasing choices that favor local products and second hand (53%). These are the findings of the new Havas Prosumer Trend Report "Joyful Frugality", for which consumers in Germany were surveyed.

Gen Z finds it hard to do without

But the contemplation of appreciating the essentials presupposes certain levels of development. For example, almost three-quarters of the prosumers surveyed admire those who have already made the transition to a frugal lifestyle and thus elevate the new frugality to a desirable, social status symbol. Similarly, half are upset that they are limiting themselves, while others continue to live wasteful lifestyles, contributing to global problems. Yet temptation is particularly strong among younger people: 65 percent of Gen Zs say they find it difficult to resist the temptations of consumer society and that frugality would restrict their freedom too much (39%) - which is true of only a quarter of the Boomer generation respectively. Overall, three-quarters of prosumers also say they want to enjoy their lives to the fullest after the pandemic, making the desire for frugality an individual balancing act of trade-offs.

The widespread opinion is that everyone:r is responsible for climate change, as 82 percent state. At the same time, the belief that everyone must do their part to create a more frugal world is just as prevalent: 92 percent of prosumers emphasize that it is necessary for everyone:r to participate and show solidarity in solving the common climate problem. Although two-thirds of Germans say that radical action and strict rules are needed to combat climate change, Generation Z respondents in particular are less willing to pay higher taxes to finance the ecological transition, at only 26 percent.

But who should be financially responsible? Three-quarters of respondents believe that the companies that make the most profit should be the first to pay for the environmental transition. That's because just under a third of prosumers assume brands and companies are to blame for climate change, while only 6 percent believe those are doing their best to combat it.


Havas has been conducting prosumer studies since 2004. Prosumers are trend-conscious consumers who, as opinion leaders, exert a major influence on their environment. What prosumers do today will soon become mainstream. The "Joyful Frugality" study was created by Havas and conducted as an online survey by Market Probe International. Some 12,929 people in 30 countries took part in the study.

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