The New (Consumer) Economy

December 1, 2010 / by Michael Redman

Given the events of the last few years it’s easy to say we are living in a new economy. If I have heard it once from the “experts” I have heard it a thousand times. They might as well be saying even more obvious statements, “Hey I think that internet thing is here to stay.”  Thanks for the tip.

Where Does All the Money Go?

However, when you ask, “what does it mean we are living in the new economy?” You will in variable receive a million different responses. Go to

the department of Labor Statistics and you can find the following data on American spending habits:

These are almost identical to the previous year. It’s not that Americans are changing where they are spending, but that they are just spending less over all.

Let’s start with the obvious American’s are spending less. 

Partly due to an increased emphasis on savings, but the real issue is that over 55% of Americans have experienced work related hardships and with the recession the average American family has lost over 20% of their wealth. Over half of America has made saving a priority.

Now, let’s focus that question a bit more. The question may be, “How is the new economy going to affect my business?” Ok focus a little tighter, “How are consumers going to be buying products/services in the New Economy?” Great question!  Let’s look a t a few more statistics that may help provide some insight:

More people clipping coupons. Last year, the number of coupons redeemed rose 27%, to 3.3 billion from 2.6 billion in 2008. What this tells you is that we are looking for value and bargains. T But where are they looking? Ever heard of the internet? What about the mobile phone?

Let’s explore this coupon thing a little deeper:

  • 43% of US online adults search online for and use coupons
  • 30% of US mobile owners are interest in receiving a promotion on their cell phone
  • 44% of 18-24 years olds are interested in receiving a promotion on their cell phones
  • 39% interested in mobile app to download coupons
  • 31% interested in mobile app to alert them to discounts and offers
  • 33% interested in mobile website to find coupon codes for use in-store

Forrester Research Inc. analyst Julie Ask predicts that retail sales through mobile phones will hit $1.5 billion in 2010. That is to say people are reviewing menus of restaurants, products for sale, searching for services, etc. and then making their purchase via mobile phone. In fact EBay Inc. alone sold $600 million worth of goods in 2009 via the mobile channel.

We know people are spending less, using the internet and mobile phones to not just look for deals, but to actually make purchases. Let’s go even further into the consumer mind into another trend that’s been building, Social Networking. If you are on Facebook try posting a simple question about a product e.g. “What diapers are the best for my 2 year old?” You will receive a plethora of responses. Consumers now have a real time method to ask all their closest friends on what the right product or service to buy. How does that affect your business?

Ok, you’re on information overload. I’ll stop with stories and statistics. The point is everyone knows we are in a new economy? We can see consumers are spending differently, getting their purchasing information differently, and purchasing through different mediums. That’s a whole lot of different. I leave you with one final question; Considering all the “different” who is helping you navigate the New Consumer Economy?

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