business news in context, analysis with attitude

There is a long piece in the Wall Street Journal that definitely is worth taking a look at, exploring what it calls "a take of two economies" that has affected virtually every category - food, cars, clothing, electronics. While there has been a recovery of sorts, it has almost entirely been at the upper end of the economic scales ... which creates pressures on marketers to start to make hard - and sometimes not-so-hard - choices about who they want to serve and what they want to sell.

You can read the entire piece here.
KC's View:
A few thoughts on this, if I may...

One is that while we have a bifurcating economy, a theme that I picked up on during the panel discussion I moderated at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Midwinter Executive Conference is that there will be an opportunity in the near future for some "middle" retailers to do well ... because there are likely to be some retail bankruptcies and closed locations that the better ones will be able to take advantage of. There was the sense, I think, that these "middle" retailers are not mushy in any sense, and that they have sharped their offering so that they can have both sharp pricing and some kind of specialty food presence.

Second, I have to say that while the vast majority of the US population may not be feeling the effects of any sort of economic resurgence, it should not go unnoticed that Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones during its most recent quarter. That is one helluva lot of iPhones. While a healthy percentage of those sales came from outside this country, the US still accounts for the majority of Apple's sales. (At least for now.) My point here is that while people may be complaining about stagnant salaries, they are finding ways to upgrade their iPhones ... which tells me that they are making choices to spend what money they have on the things that have value to them.

Finally, I was driving yesterday and sort of vaguely listening to whatever radio station was preset on the rental car, and heard someone talking about the fantastic growth that was being seen in the category of US citizens who are worth more than $50 million. My first thought was, there's a separate category for those folks? Yikes. In fact, having done a little quick research, I found a Journal story saying that there are, in fact, 45,000 Americans worth over $50 million, and that it is indeed a growing segment of the population ... I suppose because people worth $49 million are doing pretty well in the stock market and getting over the $50 million hump.

I say it again: Yikes.