How one marketing professional began to study minimalistic consumption and its benefits, and used this knowledge to change how people see the world | Tech Times
The National Retail Federation tracks consumer spending for holidays, and the winter holiday season has seen year-over-year increases in spending each year in recent history. In 2021, holiday spending was over double the 2002 numbers, indicating that spending habits are not slowing down. Last year the US saw an overall holiday spend of $886.7 billion while 2002 recorded $416.4 billion in holiday purchases. However, some consumers are looking to stop living life through the cycle of consumerism and “required” holiday spending. The minimalist movement is gaining popularity as people seek to find what matters to them, and one marketing expert, Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar, has researched this change in depth, being among the early pioneers to study and write on this topic.
The entirety of Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar’s marketing career in the corporate world was centered on global dynamics. He received his M.B.A. from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, which is the world’s top international business school. With an interest in how people around the world connected with brands and consumed, Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar’s corporate career was filled with international exposure, including working with several different cultures through global travel.
His professional experiences at senior management levels gave him a unique perspective on how consumers make purchasing choices; he began to grasp how different people in different places understood consumption. He also completed his PhD in Marketing from Texas Tech University, and soon he realized that consumers have unique needs, wants, and desires. In his influential research paper titled, “Minimalism in Consumption: A Typology and Brand Engagement Strategies,” Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar examined the role that consumption plays within the human experience. The topic, which is global in nature, addressed the wave of consumers adopting minimalism and why they are doing so.
Unlike many brands that clump minimalism into one category of consumers, Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar began to see that this movement was anything but homogenous- meaning, all minimalistic consumers are not similar in their consumption goals. The idea of minimalism is centered around owning less, reducing consumption, decluttering, and improving one’s life through reduced stress and anxiety, because of a disconnect with excessive consumerism. The way Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar sees it, the minimalistic consumers can be split into a typology (different types of minimalistic consumers) and understood in a more unique dimension and perspective.
One type of minimalist consumer is the voluntary simplifier that is focused on redirecting their finances and energy toward more meaningful life pursuits such as hobbies and non-materialistic activities. Next, there are reduced-consumption consumers that consume less because of financial constraints or certain life events that force the change. Then you have anti-consumption consumers who are driven by sustainability and center their efforts around reducing their environmental impact, and fixing social issues as well through recycling and reducing waste. Lastly, inconspicuous minimalism consumers wear subtle designs and muted logos to signal that they are abiding by a certain lifestyle, though many of these subtle signals can only be recognized by insiders, which is the intended purpose.
Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar’s research paper proposed that companies should not look at “minimalists” as just one type of holistic consumer, and instead, see the variances that could lead to the need for different, innovative marketing strategies that consider different types of minimalistic consumers and their unique life-goals. His paper, published in the Journal of Business Research, a prestigious “A” ranked journal, is among the top 10% of papers in its field on Google Scholar, has been cited multiple times since it was published, and has offered new insights into an increasingly important market segment.
The research that Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar conducts is supported by The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, where he is an Assistant Professor of Marketing. Not only does his work inspire and challenge colleagues and professionals in the field, but he spends each day sparking passion in the lives of his students, as well. His students recognize him as a dedicated professor that ensures classroom concepts and his research findings can be easily applied in the real world to solve problems that firms face. He has received teaching awards, travels to marketing conferences all over the world, and even judges a variety of competitions at those conferences. It is clear that Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar’s subject matter expertise spans far and wide; he offers helpful insights and new ways of thinking to an industry that needs a continuous stream of innovation.