The Spending Habits of Americans

There is much speculation concerning the spending habits of the American consumer post-recession. The question is, will this recession cause a permanent change is consumer behavior, or is this spending conservatism a temporary hiccup in the long standing American tradition of extravagance? Of course, we at Cult Marketing have the definitive opinion.

Americans love to spend money. Pure and simple. Any current consumer spending restraint – while glazed over with threats that “this is the new me” and other well-meaning sentiments – is temporary. How do we know? Let’s explore a few questions.

Do you like to fly first class? Do you own a Blackberry or an iPhone? Will you continue to go to a stylist to get your hair colored? Do you enjoy going out for dinner with friends? Would you like to go to an exotic location for a vacation? Do you drink Starbuck’s on a regular basis? Do you have HBO?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you like to spend money. If you like to spend money, you will eventually spend money, because people do what they want to do. Need has nothing to do with most American decision-making. It’s all about want. We agree on that?

Here is another tidbit. Pollsters have asked Americans if their spending habits will change permanently. Many have said “yes.” According to a NY Times/CBS News poll, 47% of the population said they would permanently spend less. Of course, the other half said they would return to their pre-recession spending habits. Flip a coin. It’s stupid to ask the question in the first place because no one knows the answer. It’s all speculation.

Here’s what we at Cult Marketing think. You’re going to spend money eventually, so you might at well start now and stimulate the economy. It will make our jobs as marketing people a lot easier. Then we can make more money and spend it. Then our clients will spend more money. Then we can make more money. Then we can spend more money. You get the picture? Do something good for yourself today, spend money. It puts a whole new spin on the concept of “pay it forward.”