Consumers are bombarded with stories about the future on a daily basis, since ‘Saftey of GM Crops Can’t Be Predicted’ (Daily Telegraph); ‘Should the Human Race Be Worried about the Robots?’ (Independent); ‘A Chilling Reminder of the Energy Catastrophe We Are Facing’. (Independent). Anticipation of the future has simply become an integral part of the consumer experience. Indeed, consumers actively seek to shape the future through their purchasing power in selecting or deselecting ecological products, fair trade, electrical cars and so forth. In extension futurism, has come to play an important role in marketing too.
The future is simply always present in consumer behaviour. These temporal processes of consumer choice can play out in the very short term as when an individual picks up a glass of water to drink a few seconds later, in very long term considerations about sustainable development, or in managing the super abundance of possible futures that appear through ongoing technological innovation.
Consumer anticipation of the future may thus span issue such as consumer mobility (tourism, commuting, or migration), consumer psychology (hope vs pessimism), banking, insurance, organizational and management issues, innovative technologies, political marketing, media systems, or insurance and so on. It may even ask about the role of human mortality in long term decision making among consumers.
Thomas' research in the field of Consumer Culture Theory, centres on the role of culture and temporality in the market, especially how the experience of time differ from setting to setting and how this informs consumer processes. The research is inspired by the philosophy of time, drawing on thinkers such as Heidegger, Husserl, Merleu-Ponty, Koselleck, Giddens and Foucault, but implements these conceptual insights using sociocultural methods from anthropology and sociology. The aim is to set up a new paradigm of Consumer Culture Temporality.
- Robinson, (2015). Chronos and Kairos: Multiple Futures and Damaged Consumption Meaning. Research in Consumer Behavior (pp. 129–154). Emerald Group Publishing Limited,.
- Robinson, T.D. and Chelekis, J.A. (2016). Dying to consume: Marketing and the existentialization of sustainability.
- Robinson, Time and Culture in Consumer Behaviour: Framing the Future Through Technology (Routledge, Forthcoming 2019). (PhD Thesis)