June 03, 2011

Mad Men revisited

Once upon a time, consumer demand in the US was driven in significant part by middle class consumption and the idea of shared affluence.

Goodbye to all that. Rich folks are pulling the train these days, which makes sense since they seem to be sitting on the cookie jar.

Here's a snip from a blog post from Ad Age:

The wake of the global economic recession has shown a spotlight on the yawning divide between the richest Americans and everyone else -- inflation-adjusted incomes of most American workers have remained more or less static since the 1970s, the income of the rich (and the very rich) has grown exponentially. The top 1% alone control nearly 40% of the wealth.

And while the social and political effects of this inequality may be cause for concern, the accrual of wealth among the very few is of great consequence for marketers, since 10% of U.S. households "account for almost half of the consumer spending" and represent about one-third of total GDP, according to the American Affluence Research Council.

Simply put, a small plutocracy of wealthy elites drives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending and has outsize purchasing influence -- particularly in categories such as technology, financial services, travel, automotive, apparel and personal care.

Welcome to the surplus population. There's more on that here.

WHAT HE SAID. Krugman nailed it today on the economy.

WHAT WAS THEIR FIRST CLUE? Ken Ward reports in the Charleston Gazette today that Massey Energy's board was aware that it might have had a tone and image problem.



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