American Tastes Move on up to the Top

Mar 29, 2002

Millions of Americans who once made up the vast middle of the nation’s $7 trillion consumer market are migrating upscale toward premium and luxury goods, reports the Wall Street Journal. The surprising pattern is showing up in cars, retailing, electronics and other industries, upending much of the conventional wisdom of consumer marketing.

For example, Whirlpool Corp.’s Duet line, introduced last year for a niche of affluent laundry-doers willing to pay about three times the price of the company’s midrange machines, is due to double its projections in its first six months on the market. The company expected the new line would make up only five percent of its North American washer and dryer sales. Sales of the company’s midrange models are flat.

Moderator Comment: What challenges does the apparent
widening gap between the haves and have nots in society pose for retailers and
consumer goods marketers?
Anderson – Moderator

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