Buying something before it’s something


SOURCE: Flickr user madlyinlovewithlife

Trendwatching identifies an emerging consumer trend in PRETAIL — ”a mode of consumption that sees consumers treat crowdfunding platforms as the new shopping malls.” It’s no secret that many crowdfunding sites seem to be pre-purchase opportunities on the next cool thing (case in point, the Pebble watch). And it’s also no secret that some crowdfunding sites (notably Kickstarter) don’t like that emerging trend.

But like it or not, the line between investing in something cool and buying something cool has always been a bit fuzzy. Crowdfunding just makes that fuzzy world available to a wider range of people beyond the rich.

Trendwatching suggests that the PRETAIL trend is evolving from several dynamics, including the conflation of thinking/sketching/making made possible by crowdfunding, the niche-happy world of networked retail, the (apparent) transparency holding pretailers accountable, and the many evolving paths to traditional retail. But the motivations behind investment as pre-purchase should be of particular interest to cultural managers. Says Trendwatching:

”Consumers indulging in PRETAIL are driven by the thrill of being early, mixed with the thrill of finding a truly exciting or useful or relevant product, especially if it’s something quirky or so niche that it would have never made it down a traditional brand’s production line.”

Tell me if that doesn’t also describe our most passionate and connected cultural consumers and contributors. How can we all use the language and lure of ‘pretail’ in the way we sell our works in progress?


  1. Capt_Spaulding says

    Oh for the love of toast, please let that word (pretail) die right here and now. Investments are investments and purchases are purchases. There is no pre-purchasing. Or pre-fab anything. It’s made, and that’s it. And another thing…stop jamming more than one word together to form more meaningless corporate jargon. We the consumers and corporate underlings who must listen to middle and upper management drone on in that fashion makes me want to poke my eye out with a fork while I still have the health insurance to recover from it..