Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The New U.S. Consumer?

While perusing Yahoo's news feed yesterday, we came across this interesting piece (originally from US News & World Report) titled 17 Ways Consumers Are Changing. They include:

1. Less credit, more cash.
2. The end of the monthly-payer. (Paying down debt)
3. Less trust. (in Government, Wall Street and Banks)
4. More resourcefulness. (the rebirth of do-it-yourself)
5. Less brand loyalty.
6. Smaller is bigger. (from gifts to homes and cars)
7. A rental rebound. (the "ownership" society is over?)
8. Less window shopping.
9. More closet shopping. (we've bought so much that we are starting to finally look at what we bought and use it)
10. Decluttering. (probably after looking at the junk in the closet)
11. Food frugality. (at restaurants)
12. More gardening.
13. Less waste. (renunciation of wastefulness)
14. Less healthcare. (and therefore less disposable income)
15. More negotiating.(It’s no longer cool to pay the marked price for everything)
16. More volunteering.
17. Redefining success.(Americans are seeking more satisfying work)

What is startling about this list is, if it is correct, how quickly American consumers changed following the beginning of this recession. While a lot of the changes are actually quite positive,though, the list actually raises some serious questions:

Are these changes permanent or just a symptom of the recession?

Is it back to "bling" when things turn around?

What do these changes mean to our small local shops, like the ones along Park Slope's Fifth Avenue?

Have New York City's consumers (especially Park Slope's) changed that much over the past year?

Thoughts? Leave a comment, below.

To read the entire article on Yahoo News, click here. There is also a short slideshow version.

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