Sunday, June 07, 2009

The End of the Conspicuous Consumer, The Rise of the Focused One

In, “The Recession, Wal-Mart Style,” published June 7, 2009 in the New York Times, Stephanie Rosenbloom reports on “the new normal” in retail trends. A few noteworthy ones:
  • People are trading down on protein, from higher priced cuts of beef to ground beef and chicken if possible, cheese and increased carbohydrates if necessary. (My thought—the movement to increased carbs does not bode well for weight control.)
  • People are staying in more, as evidenced by increased sales for home theater, popcorn makers, and similar items for entertainment. “Consumers are trying to make being cooped up as painless as possible.” (Apparently, even though we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for our homes, and tens of thousands more to furnish them, we see spending time at home as a curse.)
  • People are handling more of their own simple repairs and maintenance, as evidenced by increased sales of fuel oil, and basic home improvement supplies, not only at Walmart, but also at Home Depot. (Clearly, these people must have the mechanical aptitude I lack.)
Even consumer behavior in store is changing; the executives cited in the article commented that customers go into their stores with lists and seem to stick to them, without browsing the rest of the store. A sidebar article mentioned in this one indicated that Walmart will be rearranging their stores to accommodate such targeted visits.

See the entire article at

No comments: