Imagine a surfer standing on the shoreline, holding his board, facing away from the ocean. Over his shoulder he watches a big swell coming in. The wave builds, rolls over, and comes crashing toward the shore. The water rushes past his feet toward the beach. Then, as the water starts to head back toward the ocean, the surfer, still facing the beach, throws his board down and jumps on top. He goes nowhere. You watch the whole thing, thinking, "what a retard."
That surfer would be represented by the blue-chip management consulting firm Booz & Company (who years back dispatched with those other guys Allen and Hamilton). Although the Great Recession began over two years ago, the stock market rebounded more than a year ago, and the Great Recession ended eight months ago, Booz recently released a “survey” of consumer spending claiming that “a new frugality has become entrenched” in our country.
This is the “new normal” consumer we have been hearing about for far too long. And to watch Booz throw its surfboard down as the wave rushes back out to sea is embarrassing. Bring back Allen. And Hamilton.
Forget your f&cking surveys. Meaningless times two. Look instead at behavior.
Coach and Burberry reported sales up over 10% in their most recent quarters. That’s not very frugal.
Starbucks reported this week that same-store sales last quarter were up over 7%. So much for the “big trade down to McCafe.”
Check out the “ARPU” data for telcos and cable companies, the stat they track to see what the average consumer spends per month on services (your monthly phone or cable bill, essentially). ARPUs are higher now than in December 2007. Can “frugal” hear me now?
And don’t forget Walmart. Comp-store sales are down, not up.
But if you must have your surveys, then how about this one? A survey of Hispanic consumers by Ipsos and Telemundo, just released, found that four out of five Hispanics "feel that the economy has stabilized or that it has already started to improve." Hispanics, if you need to be reminded, are the fastest growing demographic we have.
In a plot right next to the metrosexual, let’s lay to rest the “new normal consumer.”
We’ll bury him with his surfboard.