Some Associated Press business writers have taken a deep look at the affect of The Great Recession (their words) on our shopping habits. They have produced a three-part series examining how our psyches and habits have changed because of the recession. The writers note that even though The Great Recession has been over for a year and a half and the economy is starting to recover, that shadow of uncertainty still looms and people may have changed their spending habits forever.
Here are a few quick observations from the series:
“This was a massive cultural event for our society,” says John Gerzema, a branding executive at marketing and advertising firm Young & Rubicam and co-author of a new book about the changing ways we spend money. “Eighty percent of Americans were born after World War II, so essentially this is our Depression.”
“The impact is hard to overstate. Consumer spending represents 70 percent of economic activity. Every business feels the pullback in some way, and it’s more pronounced for those that sell things directly to people.”…
“The worst recession since the Depression ended in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a group of academic economists that officially declares the starts and ends of recessions.”
“Americans’ psyche hasn’t recovered. An index of consumer confidence from The Conference Board has been in a tight range from the high 40s to high 50s. A reading of 90 indicates a healthy economy, and that level has not been seen since December 2007, the month the recession began.”
“U.S. households lost 17 percent of their wealth over in the past three years, more than $10 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. The labor market remains in shambles, with nearly one in 10 Americans unemployed. One in six Americans now receives some form of government assistance, including food stamps and extended jobless benefits.”
The stories are fascinating and well-worth your time to read. Here are links to all three stories. Please read and see if you find yourself in these stories.
Have your shopping habits changed over the last three years? What are you doing differently now? Do you think you will continue to shop in this new way as things recover? Are you still using credit cards?
Have your kids changed their expectations of material goods in the last three years? Do they understand what is happening? Have their spending habits changed? Are they saving for things they want?
Does it seem like The Great Recession is over? Where is you consumer confidence now? If 90 is good and the country is around 50, where would you place your number?