menu

How Will We Spend Once the Economy Bounces Back?

How Will We Spend Once the Economy Bounces Back?
Retail
Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 3 march 2009

Anthropologist and author Grant McCracken looks at the state of our economy and asks the question “What will the current downturn mean to consumers?” He then offers up various models to explain the possible lasting impacts this trip through the recession looking glass might have on our spending habits. While the prevailing theory seems to be that once the economy bounces back, we’ll all return to our previous patterns of purchasing, what if we don’t, what will things look like then?

As we’ve written about before, the brain’s response to the decision of whether or not to buy already functions much like the pleasure/pain principle so it’s not hard to imagine that a long term change in our habits might tip the scales further toward the side of saving and hardwire us to react differently once the money starts flowing again. But this is only one alternative and as we can see across McCracken’s variations, the quantitative effects aren’t always so black and white.

Within those gray areas, McCracken explores scenarios where we sacrifice one luxury in favor of another more important one or justify the things we buy through other offsetting acts like shopping at Costco, for example. That being said, McCracken admits we’ve only recently entered these woods, so ultimately it may be too early to tell. He explains:

In sum, consumer spending may look very like a tide, falling in every category in exact proportion to the loss of disposable income and credit.  Or consumers may manage their retreat less evenly, working trade-offs to protect some categories over others.  These prospects will become clearer when the ethnographic data is forthcoming.

Grant McCracken: Consumers in a Downturn: A New Consumer Habit

[image via Nielsen]

Trending

What Material Research In Beirut Bodes For Our Waste Crisis

Design & Architecture
Sustainability Today

Biocomposite Skateboard Provides An Eco-Friendly Ride

The Uitto is an eco-friendly skate deck crafted from Norwegian wood fibers

Work Today

Hyatt Honors Travelers With A 3D-Printed Statue Contest

The hospitality wanted to celebrate the people who go everywhere for work and make sure their tasks were not forgotten

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail 2017

See All
Syndicated Today

High-Tech Replica Brings Prehistoric Art Within Reach

A £48m recreation of the Lascaux Caves in France will let visitors experience the unique place for the first time in decades

Related Expert

Will Berman

Teenage Denim Fashion Designer

IoT Today

GE Develops An Alexa-Enabled Table Lamp

The first in a line of interconnected home products will integrate Amazon's voice-activated system for smarter home living

Advertising Today

Spotify Mines User Data To Create A Global Ad Campaign

The series of billboards relays the feelings that people express through listening to music

Social Media Today

This Collar Wants To Be The Bridge Between Human-Dog Communication

Inupathy claims to be world's first dog emotion visualizer

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Why Personalization Is The Key To Customer Satisfaction

Andrew Blackmon of The Black Tux shares how the company is using machine-learning models to streamline the fitting process

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Retail Today

Commerce Expert: Why Brick-And-Mortar Shopping Can’t Be Replaced

Erin Armendinger, SVP of bio, explains the physical need of customers to experience certain products before buying

Fitness & Sport Today

Bicycle Hotel In Norway Makes Commuting A Breeze

The energy efficient space was designed to help the city of Lillestrøm get closer to their environmental goals by encouraging people to ride their bike

Fashion Today

Basquiat-Inspired Fashion Line Supports Emerging Talent

The late artist's estate has collaborated with New York label alice+olivia on a new range of designs

Gaming & Play Today

Fidgeting Tools Designed To Help Creative Minds Focus

The DIDGETS Collection helps those who have anxiety or are restlessly moving to focus while they are working

PSFK EVENT

FUTURE OF RETAIL 2017:
Conference Built Around Report Launch
BUY TICKETS

Home Today

Sharing Service Connects Directors With Film Locations

Finding affordable places to film can be difficult, so GETset was designed to help creators easily find good locations

Technology Today

Adobe Is Teaching Machines To Copy Your Artistic Style

A new research project called Stylit uses a camera to mimic a drawing and reproduce the strokes digitally

Automotive Yesterday

Mercedes Reveals Dazzle-Free LED Headlights

Digital Light offers great precision with a resolution of over two million pixels

No search results found.