Astrology, once the realm of horoscope columns, now finds its influence in the penthouses of Miami and the wallets of the well-heeled. Discover how the stars, our pets, and our personal connections are reshaping luxury consumer trends.
Welcome back to Lovers & Outlaws, the series that explores how the relationships we choose are intricately related to our purchase decisions.
So much of the what-and-where we buy things are matters of context and chance — and it’s wild how those things have an impact on your consumer habits; or even more important things, like your beliefs.
Thanks to the pandemic, I’m a newcomer to Miami after years of living my best life in NYC. The move gave me a new friend group, who are as into astrology as they are crypto. The spaciousness of Florida, coupled with the isolation of the pandemic, has led many of these friends to adopt pets.
The Miami “scene” is like any other dating scene — it begins by discovering the particulars and making a connection.
On one particular steamy night in Miami, I decided to have a nightcap at the bar of a steakhouse. After a week of making delusional consumer decisions, why not make one more and indulge in a glass of overpriced champagne?
The Universe had been working overtime to put me in this bar, seated next to a businessman — bearish on crypto, but comfortable enough to sit alone at a bar with his bulldog (and cover my tab as well.)
After some probing, I discovered he was a Virgo, having a pre-birthday celebration after a long day of work in the office. Later that night, I arrived back at my house at exactly 11:11 per my Apple Watch. I made a wish that I would come across more opportunities because, after all, the sun was in my rising, and mercury in retrograde was finally ending. The astrologers have been predicting a release of pent-up energy.
This encounter may not be unique to Miami.
30% of American millennials have relied on astrology to make financial decisions, and among those who turn to the stars for guidance, it extends to choices such as buying, selling, trading stocks, and even changing jobs.
Astrology's popularity in decision-making has deep roots in the human desire for clarity in a world fraught with economic unpredictability. It provides a framework for understanding ourselves, our desires, and our place in the universe. It's not surprising to learn that, in a post-COVID world, people are seeking concrete answers in the face of uncertain inflationary prices. When the pandemic hit, there was a significant uptick in 'spiritual healers” to calm the minds of the frantic. There was even a period during the beginning of global lockdowns where you had to be put on a waitlist to adopt a pet. Pet shelters were emptied as most people considered their pets as family and sought companionship during times of isolation.
Consumers today are not only driven by social media, but they are also navigating a unique landscape where retail theft has reached an all-time high. This trend is particularly prominent among Gen Z shoppers who are willing to go to great lengths to attain the desired look. In a striking example, a TikTok video went viral when a woman shared her horrifying experience of having her $990 Maison Margiela Mary Jane-style Tabi shoes stolen by a one-night-stand Tinder date. She warned fellow fashion girlies, saying, "Ladies of NYC, be-f-cking-ware — this man is out here on Tinder and Hinge, and he will steal from you," creating a real-life saga that was giving intense Scorpio vibes.
Now, in a post-COVID world with declining marriage rates, our friendships and pet diaries have taken center stage, playing an increasingly influential role in modern purchasing decisions. This shift highlights the importance of evaluating alternatives in the context of the five stages of consumerism. As consumers, we find ourselves continually 'evaluating alternatives,' especially during times of uncertainty, as our sources of inspiration and connection evolve in this ever-changing landscape.
The point — choices we make are not solely driven by practicality — they also reflect our social circles and their relative stages of life, a list of evolving priorities; all of which encompass our physical and emotional well-being.
The list of acceptable purchase criteria is growing longer every day:
- “Is this cruelty-free?”
- “Has this been canceled in the past few years?:”
- “Will I get canceled for using this in the next few years?”
- “Does it fit my aesthetic? Or the aesthetic of those I wish to impress?”
- “Am I in love with it enough to carry it around in my suitcase for 3 months because I'm a digital nomad?”
Even so, sometimes we can be irrational —
There’s nothing like a ‘killer deal’ that will make us rethink our non-negotiables.
This parallels the relationships we have with people, too. We rely on both internal factors (is he a Libra?!) as well as external ones (my dog is the ultimate judge of your characters)
Buyer's remorse is like bad karma, it eventually catches up to you. But still, there could be doubt. This shift in focus toward holistic health extends to our relationships with ourselves, our friends, and even our pets.
People are more likely to maintain relationships with other people on the same wavelength. Dog people genuinely like other dog people, especially those of the same breed. Just browse the r/malinois Reddit board.
Or go to a dog park. Actress Tiffany Haddish recently revealed in an interview with Paris Hilton that she relies on her dog, Dreamer, to make the initial judgment on whether a potential love interest is up to par, a practice distinctly aligned with the traits of Sagittarius individuals, who are generally progressive but quick to change their minds.
What it comes down to is that people want the experience of both the discount and the divine.
Finding a new brand is often spiritualized — we’re called to purchase it.
Astrology is making its way into luxury, too. Take, for instance, Van Cleef and Arpel's recent zodiac jewelry collection, showcasing zodiac symbols on their signature mother-of-pearl stones. This trend isn't just about aesthetics; it's about identity. Brands like Brandon Blackwood have tapped into this, releasing zodiac-themed handbags like their sold-out 'LEO' collection. It's clear: consumers are seeking deeper connections with their purchases, blending spirituality with style.
Zodiac accessories are basically analogous to spiritual pendants at this point. So why not rock a bag to tell the world who you are? That's what I call an omnichannel obsession.
But don't let your matcha tea get too cold, It's important to understand how our personal relationships fit into the spectrum of making sound decisions. In a world where astrology, pets, and friendships influence consumer decisions, it is essential for marketing and e-commerce executives to recognize how to adopt different strategies beyond the brief. It may not be as simple as identifying a consumer’s age and household income; there are other ways to effectively tell the story without grouping demographics by outer appearance and economic fortune. I digress... have you reached buyer's burnout?
As we navigate the dynamic e-commerce landscape, it’s becoming increasingly clear that our purchasing choices not only is driven by social media and marketing ads but the rich tapestry of our lives. From Scopio-inspired tales of bad fashion dates to the significance of how our pets and friendships are a reflection of our closets, element of our context — our location, our relationships, and social circles — plays a part in how we evaluate alternatives and make decisions in an ever-evolving marketplace of products.
This holds true for both relationships and consumer goods.