Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ten Things We're Still Buying

“Hey, Big Spender, are you out there? You must be, since December 2008 sales amounted to $343.2 billion. What did you buy? Nothing impulsive or lavish, it would seem. Consumer confidence is at its lowest point in history and, according to a Jan. 14 report released by the Commerce Department, retail sales were down 2.7% in December 2008 from November 2008 and 9.8% from December 2007. While retailers suffer from shoppers changing their behaviors during recessions (mainly by abandoning brand loyalty), says Lindstrom, ‘There are certain things people won't give up.’ Keeping Fit - Don't let consumers' continued thirst for technology have you thinking everyone will be anchored to the couch through the remainder of the recession, however long it lasts. Gyms, considered by some to be an affordable luxury, aren't completely in the red, as people seem to want to stay healthy in both good and bad times. In fact, market researchers at St. Louis, Missouri-based firm Stifel Nicolaus say overall gym memberships will increase by 4% in 2009. And a nationwide survey conducted by Princeton, N.J.-based Opinion Research Corporation, and sponsored by gym chain Anytime Fitness, found that over 60% of the 1,090 (gym-going) participants planned on keeping their current membership plan, while another 23% planned on downgrading to a less expensive option. Aside from bare necessities, the things consumers are still buying have one thing in common: They provide a break from reality. ‘We want to dream ourselves away,’ says Lindstrom. Maybe everything will be fine by the time we wake up.”

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