The consequences of a paradigm shift.

The pandemic created many shifts in our society. Work from home being one of them. More online shopping being a second one. My wife and I both work from home, as a result, we spend many hours home with our young daughter who isn’t yet in school. Many times throughout the day, we have to tell her to go do something without us so that we can do our work. It’s heart-breaking at times as she’s a bundle of energy and fun. Sometimes too much energy!

This created a new problem that I never thought too much about before. After working all day and keeping our daughter occupied in a myriad of ways, there are other tasks that need to be done. Like ordering her clothes, or something else she needs. With a bigger push to online, this adds to our problem. It’s hard to include a young child in online shopping. They are tactile. They like to touch stuff. Stores are filled with all kinds of things they’ve never seen. They get to stroll through the store alongside mom and dad and are part of the experience. Online shopping adds more work that we can’t involve them in.

While I have doubts long-term about keeping up the pace of consumerism we are at, if I was a long-term thinking executive, I would be worried that the lack of in-store exposure leads to people not knowing about other thing they need. How much of society learned about products they didn’t know they needed by walking through a store? Online doesn’t have that nearly as much. You search for what you need, find it, order it, receive it. Sure, they might show a few ads of what they think you want, but that’s not the same as true discovery.

So, two things have come out of this paradigm shift that’s been on-going for decades now:

  • Parents further disengaged from kids in day-to-day life
  • Lower future consumerism in the coming decades likely

When online shopping was getting going, it’s doubtful the people starting it would have predicted these kinds of consequences, but that what’s makes it a paradigm shift, the fact that it is so different that the old rules no longer apply. So predicting the outcomes becomes impossible. We have to start adjusting after being presented with new information.