What is JOMO?
JOMO stands for ‘Joy Of Missing Out’ – the exact opposite of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out, that sense of anxious excitement that makes us want to stay connected, to go out, to do whatever it takes to be a part of whatever is going on, to be seen at trendy bars, to conform to the conventions of every fashion platform and to portray ourselves in a good light on Snapchat, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, etc.
Both FOMO and JOMO are essentially urban movements that primarily affect those under 35 years of age, specifically singles who may have a stronger fear of being forgotten, marginalised or perceived as out of touch than others.
JOMO can be seen as a sort of withdrawal, a means of self-exclusion that is symptomatic of a certain fatigue and weariness that results in the individual taking pleasure in mourning this omni-channel omnipresence that can be so hard to escape. But JOMO can also be seen as a sign that the individual is learning to say no, to do what they want to do, to re-evaluate their priorities, to make a point of looking after themselves, to make time for themselves, to be content with what they have and to be at peace with the fact that they are not being seen everywhere.
Is JOMO a real phenomenon?
Was JOMO created in the mind of a journalist or consultant? Or is it a visible social reality? There is no definition of JOMO that is strict enough to allow it to be measured, but many studies have shown that there is indeed something in it.
According to a report by AT Kearney on Generation Z, 28% of Generation Z members say they want to spend much less time on social media, while 26% feel obligated to keep up with the latest trends.
At the same time, a Yougov study of young Americans showed that 25% of Millennials claimed not to have any friends. Other studies performed in Switzerland have shown a steady decline in socialisation outside of the home, with people now seeing less of their friends than they did 10 years ago.
What does this behaviour mean in terms of consumption?
Do those with JOMO exhibit different consumption patterns? Does ‘switching off’ foster a desire to consume less? Or is the situation in fact quite different? We can reasonably assume that the consumption patterns displayed by those with JOMO are more individualised, less ritualised and less socialised in nature, with the emphasis very much on individual leisure pursuits, consumption behaviours that make it possible to avoid having to mix with others (Deliveroo, Amazon, etc.), film, music and video game streaming platforms and the like.
How can distributors maintain contact with these consumers who have a tendency to withdraw?
If they want to keep in touch with these consumers when they choose to shut themselves away it might be wise to start with short-term measures, such as helping them to find everything they need in preparation – comfy cushions, a home cinema system, fleecy blankets, frozen pizza, comfortable armchairs and sofas, bubble lamps, etc.
Then, of course, they can take it further and address this fatigue of having to keep running to avoid feeling marginalised – a result of acceleration and increasing anxiety -, this need that manifests itself in this age of hyper-individualism, a need to establish a tender, soothing bond with others that does not require us to mask our imperfections or weaknesses. What’s more, if the physical store can regain its sense of warmth and simplicity and its social aspect, it could well provide an appropriate response to this need for a daily routine that is both protected and protective. They might also hold JOMO and FOMO in equal contempt, indicative as they are of a world in which there is no longer any room for the individual and where the latter is unable to live life at their own pace. Some form of trading that offered a high degree of social value would certainly be an appealing solution.