10 Things We Just Won’t Give Up

I recently came upon an article talking about some of the things we just won’t give up no matter how deep the recession bites. Some of the items on the list were interesting, some surprising and some predictable.  As we enter the weekend I thought it would be fun to find out a few more of the things folks just won’t give up but first you need to know what was on the original list.

It seems that Americans have clung dearly to some things so here are the 10 new essentials:

Portable computers. The iPad might be the latest must-have gizmo, but the power of computers transcends trendiness. Purchases of notebooks have skyrocketed over the last three years, with sales in 2010 likely to be double what they were in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Part of the jump comes from low priced netbooks, but portable computers of all sizes are becoming ubiquitous as we socialize, communicate, shop, get our news and increasingly live our lives online. Desktop sales, meanwhile, have been on a steady decline, as mobility trumps stability.

High-speed Internet access. Lots of people may have cut back on cable TV, telephone service, and even gas and electricity usage but once you’ve got high-speed Internet access, you don’t go back. In a Pew Research Center survey from last year, high-speed Internet was one of only three things people said was more of a necessity in 2009 than in 2006. Appliances like microwaves, clothes dryers and dishwashers, by contrast, were considered less essential in 2009 than they used to be. And data from the Telecommunications Industry Association shows that the rapid increase in broadband Internet subscribers barely slowed in 2008 or 2009. By 2013, more than 90 percent of all Internet connections in the United States will be high-speed.

Smart phones. Overall sales of cell phones dipped for the first time ever in 2009. But sales of smart phones, which can handle email, browse the Internet and do a variety of other things, rose by 7 percent, according to TIA. And sales could surge by 25 percent this year, as people who have been putting off mobile upgrades finally nab the iPhone or Blackberry of their dreams. Like portable computers, smart phones have become a lifeline for the harried multitaskers we pretend we’re not.

Education. Many folks have decided they can live without their two cars, their two residences, and most other luxuries but they still insist on keeping up tuition payments for their sons or daughters. , While data doesn’t readily show how much families spend on schooling, many families say they’ve given up other things in order to protect their kids’ education, whether it’s private school or college, tutoring, enrichment programs or school-related activities. Private school enrollments fell by less than one percent from 2008 to 2010, and college enrollments have gone up over the last couple of years.

Movies. Ticket sales dipped in 2008 but bounced back in 2009, hitting a five-year high. One big reason was Avatar and other 3-D films, which accounted for 11 percent of the box office take in 2009, up from 2 percent the year before. Any box-office increase is a victory for movie theaters, which until last year had been losing viewers to home theater systems and an expanding lineup of movies on cable and the Internet. It’s a remarkable turn around for an industry that almost died in the 80’s.

TV. Amercians are spending less on entertainment but watching more TV. A recent survey by consulting firm Deloitte found that the typical American watches nearly 18 hours’ worth of shows on a home TV each week, two hours more than a year earlier. One reason might be that more unemployed people are killing time at home. But TV might also seem like a cheap alternative to sports events, concerts and DVD purchases. And hard-core TV watchers can’t be all that strapped as sales of high-definition TV sets have risen steadily right through the recession.

Music downloads. The need for mobility applies to music, too. CD sales fell by 21 percent in 2009, but downloads of singles and entire albums rose by nearly as much. The Pew Survey comparing luxuries and necessities helps explain why: More people considered an iPod a necessity in 2009 than in 2006, despite the recession.

Pets. Fido sits at the table these days. Maybe even at the head of the table. While Americans have cut spending on themselves, spending on pet food, supplies, grooming, vet care and clothing (clothing?) has been rising uninterrupted by about 5 percent per year. Industry officials attribute this to the “humanization” of pets, which in turn has led many pet owners to close the “quality of life gap” between their animals and themselves. The iWoof can’t be far behind.

Booze. Smoking less doesn’t make us entirely virtuous. Americans have backed off the high-end expensive booze, but we’re drinking enough cheap stuff to make up for it.  Beer and wine sales have inched up as well over the last few years and with bar and restaurant sales down, it tends to  suggest that more people are drinking at home …while they watch TV, probably.

Coffee. Americans have actually followed that penny-pinching advice, and cut back on the $5 daily lattes. But they’re compensating by brewing more of their own coffee. About 56 percent of American adults drink coffee, a proportion that hasn’t changed over the last few years. But a recent survey by the National Coffee Association found that 86 percent of coffee drinkers make their own at home, up from 82 percent a year earlier. And those drinking coffee made someplace else (think Starbucks) fell from 31 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2010. Of course, if people are drinking more booze at home, then it makes sense that they’d be dosing themselves with more coffee, too. If the economy improves, maybe we’ll need less of each.

So what else can’t you live without? What won’t you give up no matter how bad things get? Let me know… leave a comment below.

Link to original article: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/10-Things-We-Cant-Live-usnews-3617536316.html?x=0

One Response to 10 Things We Just Won’t Give Up

  1. Nice list, Nigel. Apparently, men who are aware of our Kennedy’s All-American Barber Club concept won’t give that up either — probably because we offer a great Experience for a great Value and link it all back to the Kennedy’s Lifestyle. It would certainly explain how our net Membership growth is just about 100% in the past 18 months. 🙂

    May 21, 2010 at 8:30 am

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