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Consumers Spend Less, Save More Than the During Last Boom, Affecting a Wide Variety of Companies, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

After piling on debt, running up their credit cards, signing mountains of mortgages and buying new cars at a soaring rate from 2002 through 2007, consumers have completely reversed course.  Personal savings rates are much higher than they were during the last boom.  Some categories of consumer debt have declined dramatically, to much lower, healthier levels.  Welcome to a new era of increased frugality and worried consumers.  Nonetheless, consumer spending has been reasonably strong, with automobile sales and online retailing doing extremely well.  Consumers will remain cautious about using credit card debt.

The most successful companies will be those that offer products and services with lasting value, low prices, good customer service, cost-saving strategies or innovative technologies.  Excellent examples are Wal-Mart (low prices), Costco (good service and low prices), Amazon (innovative use of online technology to provide convenience and cost-savings), travel firms like Southwest Airlines and Carnival Cruise Lines (good service, low prices, high value) and car makers like Kia and Hyundai (lasting value, low prices).



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