Remember when your local fast food joint used to ask you, “Do you want to supersize that order?” Sounded like a great deal back then, and just about everything went supersize – from food and beverages to fashion accessories, homes and cars. How 2005! Move over supersizing, there’s a new global trend on the block…downsizing.

What is Downsizing?

Supersizing is a business model adapted from the fast food industry, where customers are offered to upgrade to a larger version of a product or service, for just a small sum extra. The result is greater profit per unit for the seller. For a time, supersizing was so successful, it became a cultural phenomenon, captured by producer Morgan Spurlock in his 2004 documentary, Supersize Me.

As the credit crunch took hold, however, customers have become reluctant to spend more money than absolutely necessary, increasingly turning down the supersize option when offered. Downsizing is simply the opposite of supersizing – offering customers less of a product or service, for a smaller fee (some might argue it’s a return to normal).

Who is Downsizing?

Anything extra is superfluous these days. Here’s what’s being downsized:

  • Workforces – organisations have cut back on unnecessary permanent staff, rather outsourcing work to freelancers
  • Products – brands are offering consumers the option to buy their favourite products in smaller packages. And it’s interesting to note that fast food chains McDonald’s and Burger King have phased out supersizing.
  • Pared-down services – recognising that consumers are unwilling to pay for unnecessary or extravagant services, the service industry is offering ‘economy’ versions of services.
  • Houses – homes are getting smaller, with fewer amenities, as homeowners settle for less space to save money
  • Cars – once a status symbol, luxury gas guzzlers have given way to neat and nifty vehicles like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500
  • People – Obesity rates have fallen since the start of the recession.

Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Take Note…

Offer more entry-level products and smaller product sizes.