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  • Writer's pictureDel Chatterson

Hermit consumers

Updated: Feb 25

Hermit consumers

We may never meet


It seems our customers and clients have learned to avoid personal contact in the real world. Trained to work, play, and shop in isolation using online services hunched over our computers during the deadly Covid pandemic, we've discovered we never really need to meet in the real world.


The Economist (October 28th, 2023) has called this phase the era of the hermit consumer. Around the world, people are shopping from home and enjoying virtual experiences and online services without any personal one-on-one contact. Since 2020 spending on personal services has declined for everything from health care, financial planning and luxury travel to haircuts. Purchases for goods to be used at home have increased – for computers, electronics, furniture, clothes, food and wine.


But is it a good thing? Self isolation may keep us safe from viruses and other socially contagious curses like hate crimes and gun violence, but is it good for us? Online exchanges and virtual meetings cannot fully replace personal social contact and the value of meeting face-to-face to share knowledge, experiences and emotions to work, play or do business together. The more complex or emotionally charged the exchange, the more likely we are to resolve our differences in person than in brief bursts of communication online. Patience and empathy become more important to effective communication than an efficient high-speed exchange of information.


Those are good skills to develop and solid reasons to get way from our keyboards, smartphones, and social media to meet people in the real world. It's a better way to get the right information, to learn, to understand, and to be understood.


Be better. Do Better. Be an Enlightened Entrepreneur.


Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph


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