‘Consumer Reports’ Survey Finds the American Consumer is Back

Go Lean Commentary

There are more lessons to learn from the Great Recession of 2007-2008. The lingering effects continue, right up to this day. According to the foregoing news article, only now, 7 years later, are Americans willing to start spending again… on big purchases. Too bad! Many aspects of the US economy depend on regular spending*.

According to the foregoing article, there is value to processing, defining and analyzing economic data associated with the Great Recession; this is the merit of Big Data Analysis. This point aligns with the book Go Lean… Caribbean in that a plan is envisioned to capture raw data, measuring many aspects of Caribbean society, including economic, trade, consumption, macro performance, and societal values. Much can be gleaned from this art and science, mastery of which allows for better stewardship of the Caribbean elevation effort. The news story follows:

SOURCE: Consumer Reports
Seven years after the Great Recession, consumers are finally opening their wallets, making long-delayed purchases and undertaking postponed life decisions

YONKERS, N.Y., Sept. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Great Recession of 2007[/2008] caused the once-prolific American shopper to go into a prolonged scrimp mode.  Now, some seven years later – and more than 5 years after the recession officially ended — the tide has turned, according to a groundbreaking Consumer Reports study. A nationally representative survey of 1,006 adult Americans conducted by the ConsumerReportsNationalResearchCenter revealed that people are now in the market for major purchases like homes, cars, and appliances – and that they plan to spend even more money in the coming year.

The full report, “How America Shops Now,” is the cover story for the November 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine and is available on newsstands now and at ConsumerReports.org.

So traumatizing was the Great Recession that many Americans put off purchases and personal decisions such as marriage and divorce. Seven out of 10 people told Consumer Reports that they finally feel fiscally stable enough to make up for lost time. Other findings from the survey that point to shoppers’ improved outlook:

  • 64 percent said that they’d dropped big bucks on a major purchase in the past year
  • 46 percent said they bought a new or used vehicle in the past year or intend to buy one in the coming year
  • 12 percent said they’d bought a residence in the past year or intend to do so in the coming year
  • 34 percent said they recently completed or are ready to do a major home-remodeling project
  • 31 percent are holding fewer garage sales
  • 30 percent are taking fewer odd jobs
  • 26 percent of young Americans (aged 18-34) said they were ready to buy a new home; 32 percent believe they can buy a car

“Shoppers may be back, but they’re far from the profligate spenders they used to be. The harsh lessons of the prolonged downturn have had a major impact, perhaps a permanent one,” said Tod Marks, Senior Projects Editor for Consumer Reports.  “Our survey shows that Americans are spending their money very pragmatically, and even though the employment picture has improved, many are working scared – scared about their future job stability and earnings outlook.”

The report also features testimonials from real consumers about their new spending habits. Additional data from CR’s nationally representative survey includes what Americans are most reluctant to cut back on – regardless of the economy, and the pricier items many people feel are still out of reach.  The full report is available in the November issue of Consumer Reports magazine, and online at ConsumerReports.org.

CU Blog - Consumer Reports Survey Finds the American Consumer is Back - PhotoConsumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

September 2014
The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.  We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission.
CBS News Reporting on Consumer Reports – Thursday, September 25, 2014 – http://www.cbs19.tv/story/26623848/consumer-reports-survey-finds-the-american-consumer-is-back-and-ready-to-spend

VIDEO CBS This Morning: Back to buying: Americans’ spending habits change after recession

(VIDEO plays best in Internet Explorer).

This book Go Lean… Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), the regime to empower Caribbean society. The CU/Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion GDP and create 2.2 million jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines against “bad actors”.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

These prime directives recognize that the changes the region needs, new economic engines, will start first with the adoption of new community ethos and controls. Early in the book, the need for this shift is pronounced, (Declaration of Interdependence – Page 13) with these statements:

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxv. Whereas the legacy of international democracies had been imperiled due to a global financial crisis, the structure of the Federation must allow for financial stability and assurance of the Federation’s institutions. To mandate the economic vibrancy of the region, monetary and fiscal controls and policies must be incorporated as proactive and reactive measures. These measures must address threats against the financial integrity of the Federation and of the member-states.

The Go Lean book, and previous blog/commentaries stress that Big Data Analysis will be key, among the societal controls, in the roadmap for Caribbean elevation. The book references to this analysis are as follows:

Community Ethos – Impact Research and Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Strategy – CU Stakeholders – NGO’s need for Big   Data Page 56
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media Page 111
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Implementation – Ways to Impact Elections Page 116
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices Page 134
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 Page 136
Planning – Ways to Measure Progress Page 147
Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Black Markets Page 165
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Leadership Page 171
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Gun Control Page 179
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Contact Centers Page 212
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Foundations Page 219
Appendix – Application of a Chapter, the Book Art   of War Page 325
Appendix – Electronic Benefits Transfer / e-Payments Page 353

The points of Big Data Analysis for Command-and-Control were further elaborated upon in these previous blog/commentaries:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2105 Recessions and Public Health – Lessons from the 2008 Crisis
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2126 Analyzing the Data – Where Are the Jobs Now: Computers Reshaping Global Job Market
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2003 Analyzing the Data – Where Are the Jobs Now – One Scenario: Ship-breaking
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1763 Analyzing the Data – The World as 100 People – Showing the Gaps
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1715 Analyzing the Data – Lebronomy: Economic Impact of the Return of the NBA Great to his Home  City
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1433 Analyzing the Data – Caribbean loses more than 70 percent of tertiary educated to brain drain
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1296 Analyzing the Data – Remittances to Caribbean Increased By 3 Percent in 2013
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=841 Analyzing the Data – Having Less Babies is Bad for the Economy?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=782 Open/Review the Time Capsule: The Great Recession of 2008
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=709 Analyzing the Data – Student debt holds back home buyers
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=518 Analyzing the Data – What Banks learn about financial risks
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=493 Analyzing the Data – Nigeria’s economy grew by 89% overnight
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=356 Book Review: ‘How Numbers Rule the World: The Use & Abuse of Statistics in Politics’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=242 Analyzing the Data – The Erosion of the Middle Class
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=235 Analyzing the Data – Tourism’s changing profile

The 2007/2008 Great Recession brought major upheaval to American society. Unfortunately, due to economic inter-connections, this upheaval extended to the Caribbean as well, our economy is structured as individual parasites on the US economy. According to the foregoing news article, the US is now finally returning to their spending habits of old, and yet the Caribbean continues to linger in economic upheaval. There is a need for a change in the Caribbean, from these individual parasite economies to a regional-unified interdependent protégé economy.

The CU/Go Lean roadmap is designed to drive change among the economic, security and governing engines of the region. The change requires new community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocates; this effort requires Command-and-Control because despite the best efforts and best-practices, success will not come on the first attempt, or second, or third. In fact it will take a continuous effort, again and again, combined with the measurement of the progress, course adjustment and more continuous effort to finally bring the desired result: a better homeland to live, work and play. This result is worth all this effort, all this heavy-lifting.

The foregoing article which discusses the role of of the Consumers Report organizational structure, depicts how technocratic stewardship can greatly impact a community. This is a fitting role model for the CU/Go Lean roadmap in a new Caribbean.

Big Data Analysis is not just for academic consumption, rather it must be for the stewardship, Command-and-Control, of regional economic, security and governing engines. The people and institutions of the region are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap, to fulfill the vision of making the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


* The Go Lean book details the economic impact of the housing (Pages 161, 207) and automotive (Page 206) industries; these are traditionally “big purchase” items.

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