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What's hot, what's not

  • Fewer people are eating at restaurants, with that sector down 4% this year.  Grocery stores, however, are doing well, with the shares of big food companies up about 17%.
  • Holiday gift purchases are likely to be cut back; analysts are projecting the weakest buying since the recession of '91.  People will be more likely to substitute "gifts of service" such as baby or dog sitting, car washing, etc.
  • Shopping as a Sunday sport is taking a hit.  That ritual is being replaced by time with family and friends.
  • Impulse buying and conspicuous consumption are on hold.  At least temporarily, consumers will rediscover thrift and savings.
  • Even deep discounts by department stores aren't triggering consumer interest.  On the other hand, Wal-Mart and the discount membership clubs are doing just fine, thank you. 

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