Look at What’s Selling Instead of What’s Not Selling

Jeff Lind

Sales may have slowed buy that doesn’t mean people have stopped buying altogether.  A new paradigm of consumerism is emerging that some experts believe will live long after this economic crisis is resolved.

“Suddenly consumers are focused on buying what they have to have as opposed to buying what they want to have,” said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a New York-based retail consulting and investment-banking firm.

“This is a permanent change for Americans, who will face a declining standard of living over the next 20 years,” he added.

Consider this: Truck and SUV sales are slowing but hybrids and fuel-efficient car sales are holding their own. Sales of scooters, which can cover twice as much ground on a gallon of gasoline as a Toyota Camry sedan, are gaining as fast as prices at the pump.

What’s selling at the grocery store

Consumers are eating at home more.  According to Information Resources Inc., which uses sales receipts of consumer products as a measure of shopping behavior, they’re forgoing fresh fruits and vegetables in favor of the frozen varieties because they’re cheaper. Don’t confuse that with frozen prepared foods. They’re shunning those to cook from scratch, but using the frozen vegetables, fruit and meats instead of the fresh products.

In the last year, sales volumes of frozen pizza fell 3 percent while receipts for frozen dinners and entrees dropped 4 percent. Yet sales volumes of frozen vegetables were higher by 4 percent while frozen poultry sales jumped 8 percent.

Sales of Spam, that’s right I said Spam — are up some 10 percent amid a price hike and were a big contributor to parent company Hormel Foods’ second-quarter profit growth.

As business owners we need to adjust our inventory or services offered to mirror consumer behavior and we will get through this just as we have many times in the past.  Let’s spread good news instead of bad.

Jeff Lind can be reached at 544-9220 or jeff@slaslo.com.