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The rise of selectionist consumers and SMEs


mobileThink about how far the world has come in only ten years.

Ten years ago here’s what the technological world looked like:

  • Facebook was getting started and wasn’t available to all Australians yet
  • YouTube was only just released
  • Twitter wasn’t available at all
  • The iPhone was not even a glimmer in Apple’s eye yet.

Of course, the world has changed in a big way since 2005. This is especially true in the tech world where social media and mobile internet have become fully ingrained staples within consumer culture.

Now millions of people use social media, with a huge spike in mobile internet usage. People have directly responded to these changes in how they shop.

As the consumer culture became more digitised and accessible, this led to a greater level of choice in their purchasing. After all, why would consumers settle for something when they have access to exactly what they want?

This new type of consumer demand also hastened in all sorts of businesses which cater to the selective consumer culture.

Here comes the selectionist consumer

Thus, the rise of selectionist consumer culture is here – and it’s quickly resonating throughout all major retail sectors.

One recent study suggested that up to 30 per cent of consumers today are selectionists. This means that more now than ever, people are willing to seek out better variety and choice in their goods and they’re willing to pay for this variety with premium rates as well.

One retail sector in particular, FMCG, helps reinforce the growth of the selectionist culture.

FMCGs represent a big chunk of what consumers spend their disposable income purchasing and as these buyers become more selective with what they want, and what they inevitably buy, they’re often led away from bigger chain retailers and ‘mega’ style groceries.

This selectionist drive has opened a large gap in the business world for small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses.

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The rise of the SME

This entire movement toward consumer accessibility, selectivity, and FMCG availability has served as a ‘perfect storm’ to aid in the rise of SMEs.

This process can be outlined in four simple steps:

  1. Technology fuels consumer awareness and selectionist culture
  2. SMEs have the capacity to utilise technology to directly reach these selectionist consumers
  3. SMEs can provide the exact premium goods and services these consumers are seeking
  4. SMEs continue utilising technology for continued direct feedback on what to provide their fan base.

One of the best by products of the digital age is the speed at which these businesses can accomplish these goals.

SMEs can take advantage of social media and other online outlets to build and develop their brands while reinforcing their customer base.

They can also focus on innovation and faster moving changes to consumer demand – much faster than larger businesses.

Reaching consumers this way allows SMEs to enjoy all the benefits of meeting this demand:

  • A higher asking price for premium goods
  • Greater profit margins to retailers
  • Even more loyalty and following from consumers.

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SMEs: Growth for the future

The current trend surrounding SMEs has positioned them for continued growth well into the future.

Consumers are not going to get any less picky in the coming years. In the age of information, they will continue demanding goods and services that align with their values. Accordingly, SMEs are in a valuable spot within the business world.

Nicky Jackson is CEO of RANGEme, an online marketplace connecting buyers and suppliers.

Contact RANGEme at or on Twitter at @RANGE_ME

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