Okay, I’ll admit it, I used “condoms” in the title as a cheap trick to draw in readers. But don’t blame me, I’m discussing an article in Time Magazine called What Sells in a Recession: Canned Goods and Condoms.
The article uses Nielsen Co. data to discuss things that are selling (and not selling) in this economic environment. Here are some tidbits:
- “Family planning” products, which include condoms and over-the-counter female contraceptives, were up 10% for the first two months of this year. My take: Couples are going out less, which is leading to a phenomenon that the article calls “cocooning.”
- A catch-all category called “seasonal general merchandise,” which contains thawing salt, body warmers and gift packages with candy went up the most. My take: Even in a downturn, people need to deal with the cold and snowy winter, and candy is a more affordable Valentine’s Day gift than jewelry.
- Canning and freezing supplies like jars, bags and containers were up 11%. My take: Consumers are cooking in bulk to prepare for a lot of in-house dining.
- Other categories in the top 20 include baking mixes and supplies, fresh-meat, vegetables and dry grains, dry pasta, cheese, wine and liquor. My take: Looks like a surge in home-cooked Italian meals. Yum!
- Film and cameras dropped the most, a decline of 31%. My take: Less traveling and more contraception cuts the demand for picture-taking.
- Sports and novelty cards dropped 26%. My take: Could anything be more discretionary?!?
- Magazines dropped 17%. My take: Part of a longer trend in the media industry. Some blogs can be even more engaging than magazines. 🙂
- Cookies and ice cream cones dropped 10%. My take: People are opting for more home baked desserts.
- Other products that dropped include air fresheners and deodorants, kitchen gadgets, lawn and garden items, and bath accessories. My take: I have no idea why this is happening, but houses are going to look and smell worse.
The bottom line: The recession windfall: romance and home-cooked meals.