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The Set List: JOMO

Image: Jerry Kiesewetter.

Editor’s note: this blog is part of a series discussing trends and insights into the world around us.

In an ever-evolving digital era, JOMO is on the rise. Unlike FOMO (fear of missing out), those with JOMO (the joy of missing out) share a common belief that there is still something worthwhile and tangible in the physical world.

This rebellion against saying yes to everything is based on the hope that not everything will be lost to the digital era. People who embrace JOMO tend to lean towards mindfulness, homeliness and comfort over the outside world to combat overwhelming levels of technology and being excessively social. What makes this trend so appealing is that it makes us feel slightly more human and, dare I say, connected.

Connection is the key word to bear in mind with this trend. The rise of trends such as Hygge and Zhai is proof of people wanting to take back control and bring happiness and solitude into their homes, having just as good a time there as they would anywhere else in the world. As a result, Britons are spending less time working (both overall and at work), less time shopping and socialising, and more time at home. According to the fourth IPA TouchPoints Hub Survey, Brits currently spend 17 and a half hours a day at home, which is up 20 minutes from 2010 and 30 minutes from 2008!

In the U.S., JOMO is also on the rise with more and more consumers also preferring the pleasure of missing out. A Yelp Eat24 online survey of men and women between the ages of 18 and 54 found that almost 80 percent of those surveyed make excuses to avoid going out and 10 percent are doing so regularly, so it’s not surprising to hear that brands like Netflix, which just reached nearly 100 million subscribers globally, have benefitted hugely from this shift in social behaviour. Its boost in popularity is further supported by YPulse, reporting that 72 percent of Millennials and teens would rather stay in on weekends than go out at night and, on a Saturday night, 52 percent of Millennials would rather watch Netflix instead of going out with others.

Overwhelmed by technology and the constant noise it creates, many people are seeking to escape. The need for JOMO highlights how quickly we have adapted to the technological environment, and how much our dependency on technology has now shifted. Technology and lifestyle blogger Anil Dash sums up the need for JOMO, “Being the one in control of what moves me…and what attachments I have to fleeting experiences is not an authority that I'm willing to concede to the arbitrary whims of an app on my mobile phone.” It’s the freedom to choose how you feel and not letting information or outside sources make you feel a certain way.

Acting as an antidote to social media—a place where fake personalities thrive and where many connections are deemed false—JOMO allows people to be themselves and do as they choose without worrying about followers, likes or views. One brand that is tapping into this thinking is Innocent. Innocent’s Unplugged Festival, labelled as the ‘digital detox festival,’ has a phone, Wi-Fi and 4G ban so that people experience the moment and are less inclined to view it through the screen of their phones. Although the brand’s ROI through this event is unknown, events like this help Innocent stay connected with fans and potential consumers more so than through traditional advertising.

Of course, this trend extends beyond technology. Ramen restaurant Ichiran in Tokyo encourages diners to have a full sensory experience to not only fuel a better appreciation for its delicious food, but also for the often-forgotten process of eating. Customers sit in curated minimalist singular booths, immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of all that is Ramen as they wait. A pair of hands holding the ordered bowl of Ramen seamlessly appears, minimising interaction with staff and keeping the spotlight on the food. As with all trends, there are extremes, and London’s first naked restaurant, Bunyadi, is JOMO taken to its limits. Diners are asked to remove their clothes and phones and enter a restaurant that uses no electricity, where food is cooked only on an open fire, allowing customers to revel in the joy of missing out.

So, what’s next?

Brands could further accentuate the trend by dividing JOMO and FOMO, contesting two different types of customers. For example, brands are beginning to build their own communities that reflect each trend, where like-minded people can experience brands together and interact to deeply connect to brands and their spaces.

Aside from this, brands should look beyond FOMO and JOMO and fine-tune into customers’ desires and approaches to life. Consumers want to feel they are the ones in control, stay ahead of brands, and find new ways to express these cultures in both the physical and virtual worlds. By ensuring that they have great and unforgettable adventures, whilst appealing to these evolving trends, brands will continue to bring meaning to their consumers’ lives through those experiences.

Harriett Leggett is a junior interior designer in Gensler’s London office, with a spirited approach and passion for retail design. Her previous visual merchandising experience has given her an eye for detail and a good knowledge of how consumers shop, which she applies to the concept development and design of exciting and engaging spaces. Contact her at Harriett_Leggett@Gensler.com.