Streams

You Are How You Buy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Matt Carmichael is a journalist covering demographics, consumer trends, and urban issues, the editor of Livability.com, and the author of Buyographics: How Demographic and Economic Changes Will Reinvent the Way Marketers Reach Consumers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Through the stories of 11 families, Carmichael explores the changing demographics in America and how marketers are (slowly) responding.

 

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Comments [17]

Bill Pope from Sparta, NJ

So what does a commodity such as WNYC contribute, exactly?

Nov. 23 2013 07:44 PM

It is sad that as Americans, we tend to self-identify as consumers instead of human beings, members of society, or workers. This is part of the legacy of capitalism: the commodification of everything, including the human spirit.

Nov. 20 2013 12:48 PM
matt from Chicago

JM/Genejoke/RUCB_Alum Yes, you're right and I get into this a lot more in Buyographics. Retirement-age Boomers have, by most accounts, had a hard time saving and lost a lot of equity at exactly the wrong moment as far as retirement goes. That's certainly impacting where/when and how they retire. It's also impacting the job market as they stay longer in their jobs. The recovery is happening at different rates for different income groups and it's tough going for many, many Americans. I think it all comes down to choices and many in the middle class no longer have the financial means to make the ones they'd like to.

Nov. 20 2013 12:02 PM
J M

For once ... just once ... I wish someone would actually report on what is actually happening with baby boomers and retirement!

The average boomer has 50K in retirement savings. Hence, we are not retiring anywhere because we cannot afford to.

Please, please, please someone do some investigative reporting that is accurate.

Nov. 20 2013 12:02 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Truth & Beauty

Who needed to invent forks and spoons when we've had hands and fingers for millions of years? And those beanie babies and pet rocks temporarily created jobs and made someone some money. That's the way capitalism works and communism fails. Individuals thinking how to make something that can hopefully sell at a profit.

Nov. 20 2013 11:59 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

@ jgarbuz from Queens: Forks and spoons are still useful and continue to create jobs while pet rocks and beanie babies were never useful and continue to collect dust.

Capitalism that creates non-useful items solely for profit is predatory; communism that degenerates into despotism is valueless except for the material goods owned by the despots, like gold bathroom fixtures. Bathroom fixtures are necessary; gold bathroom fixtures are not.

Form and function combined represents brilliance and creativity.

Nov. 20 2013 11:53 AM
J M

For once ... just once ... I wish someone would actually report on what is actually happening with baby boomers and retirement!

The average boomer has 50K in retirement savings. Hence, we are not retiring anywhere because we cannot afford to.

Please, please, please someone do some investigative reporting that is accurate.

Nov. 20 2013 11:44 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Hello? Seniors are retiring later because they have no choice BUT to work until they CAN'T, in this sh**ty economy. Maybe the wealthy are "remodeling" their own homes. This guest is so fulla crap.

Nov. 20 2013 11:42 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Truth & Beauty

Who needed to invent forks and spoons when we've had hands and fingers for millions of years? And those beanie babies and pet rocks temporarily created jobs and made someone some money. That's the way capitalism works and communism fails. Individuals thinking how to make something that can hopefully sell at a profit.

Nov. 20 2013 11:42 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

C'mon, Brian. Internet sales and no sales tax. It doesn't take a genius.
Keypunch operators, print journalists and shopping malls have or will fall to the Internet. TV, movie theaters, insurance salesmen, and hundreds of other industries will fail, too.

In the fifty years since the death of Kennedy, the GDP has grown from $654B to $15.5T - average wage was $4,400 in 1963 and has risen to $42,000 in 2013. The economy has grown two percent faster than wages...Presumably as a way to cut inflation, but the impact is to concentrate wealth. A big mistake in my view.

If wages had kept pace with the economy, the average wage would now be $104,000. Who pockets the $62 grand?

Nov. 20 2013 11:39 AM
Tab in NYC from nyc

10,000 shopping centers going under? Fact check please.

Nov. 20 2013 11:37 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

@ jgarbuz from Queens: Then I guess you cornered the market on pet rocks and beanie babies...

Nov. 20 2013 11:36 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Truth & Beauty

If people didn't invent things that were considered unnecessary at the time, we'd still be living in the 16th century.

Nov. 20 2013 11:35 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Marketing is: Invention is the mother of necessity.

Sales is: Necessity is the mother of invention.

You want to sell? Sell something people need. Don't invent things we don't need and try to make us think we do need them.

Nov. 20 2013 11:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

In an aging population, with a very slow growing economy - which is now the case of of most industrialized countries - the amount of disposable income shrinks. If most people can just hold onto their homes and have anything to spent beyond food and shelter and basic transportation, those people are definitely ahead of the game.

And now more people, including myself, buy more online. I even buy half of my food online now. Less need to go out to shop. And definitely more people are moving back to the cities from the suburbs which are on the verge of collapse.

Nov. 20 2013 11:33 AM
Darius from bklyn

This is really hard for a NYer to stomach, where 3-4 bedroom is a, in fact, fairly extravagant for a couple with one kid and where plenty of homes are >$1M homes.

Nov. 20 2013 11:32 AM
Tony from Canarsie

"Changing middle class" or vanishing middle class?

Nov. 20 2013 11:25 AM

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