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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The dumb bell economy

Observation:  During a small business workshop last week sponsored by Cox Media Group of Jacksonville, I referred to our current state as, “The dumb bell economy.”   The term helps illustrate an environment where there seems to be a lot of people on one side who are affluent, and a lot of people on the other end of the spectrum who feel like they have entered poverty, and fewer people remaining in the center… or middle class.

A story in today’s New York Times seems to support this illustration.  Click here to see it.

Implications:    I’ve spoken about the chasm between the “haves” and the “have nots” on many occasions before.  While the dumb bell graphic perhaps over-emphasizes the two extremes of affluence and poverty, it does help make the point.  The middle class has flattened by many accounts.

How have your customers changed over the past few years?  Are they closer to affluence, or living a little leaner than they used to?  Or do they remain in the middle, but feeling a little bit lonely?

Many retailers are, in fact, seeing a shift in their customer profile.  For more insights into these changing tides, see another story from the New York Times, which explains that while some customers are looking up to the stock market to see how they should be feeling… others are looking down to the cost of a gallon of gas.  Click here to see that article.

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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