Consumer Revolution In The 18th Century

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The general agreement in the historical society on the consumer revolution in the eighteenth century is that it was born from the population increase. Most historians argue that increased consumption of goods and materials was in response to new demands rising from the increasing population of most European countries throughout the century. Hufton is one of the historians that draws a parallel between the buying, selling and manufacturing of luxury goods and the population growth experience in Europe. Hufton argues that the agricultural demands in the 1700s gave birth to new wealth, consumer expenditure, the demand for luxury clothing and a high demand of basic commodities. This demand for basic needs contribute to the rise of textile…show more content…
In agreement with the research and findings of Coquery, a whole new culture and language developed in reaction to this revolution, much in the same way that the agricultural revolution gave birth to new farming approaches and techniques. Coquery asserts that the growth in consumerism was a phenomenon that affect all levels of society, changing social and economic roles of not only the privileged but the middle classes and lower. Inventories of shops during this time display a wide range of goods such as razors, combs, shoes, watches, earth-ware, books, mirrors, painted textiles and wallpapers imported from the Asian continent. The revolutionary rise in cheaper alternatives to cloths and tableware gave birth to a new system of advertising and shop displays in the streets of Paris. Shopkeepers offered various items and advertised them by referring to their patrons as ‘the amateur, ‘the collector’ or ‘man of taste’ when a certain product caught the eye of a consumer. There flattering terms validated the consumers need to purchase novelty goods and cheap imitation materials from these Parisian shopping district. Not only did the shop keepers develop a way to flatter customers but they began to use print media to advertise their business. The most popular of methods was the use of the almanac. The almanacs publish between 1769 and 1789 contained detailed lists of wholesalers, shopkeepers, manufacturers and artisans in alphabetical order. These almanacs were riddled with ads stressing the novelty, quality, beauty and the value of the products. Not only did they encourage the inhabitants of France to buy into this new culture, but travelling Europeans began to take interest in Paris as a shopping district due to its persuasive
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