Dealing with a bad economy.
Image from San Francisco Sentinel
From gas to milk to toilet paper, the cost of everything we need seems to have soared in the past three years. As the economy continues to waiver, more people are struggling to make ends meet. And when basic necessities become luxuries, major manufacturers start to notice. Recently, industry giant Proctor and Gamble lowered prices in response to a stagnating economy. Elance and Toys R Us also have unique offers to offset the pressure of the recession. For a change, I’d like to showcase what it is that big business is doing to help alleviate the burden that a down economy has imposed on consumers lately.
People Can’t Afford The Basics!
As salaries jog in place and housing values tumble, people are struggling to cover basic expenses such as utilities, food and household items. In response to this crisis, people aren’t buying designer clothes and brand name products; mass merchants such as Walmart have experienced an array of new buyers; generic and store brand products are now the top choice for many frugal shoppers as money saving ideas dominate our collective consciousness. As a result, brand name products and designers feel the crunch and are forced to respond.
Let’s take a look at some examples in the marketplace, where changes have occurred due to the slowdown in the economy:
Big Business Lowers Consumer Prices Due To Recession
#1 Proctor & Gamble Lowers Prices On Essential Items
Proctor & Gamble, Co., the makers of popular products such as Gilette shavers and Tide laundry, have been introducing new value versions of their consumer products. The recession has hurt this industry giant as buyers have turned to store brand and generic products. This company has reduced overall prices about 10 percent by cutting the cost of Cheer laundry detergent and introducing a basic version of Tide.
According to Jon Moeller,the chief financial officer, sales will increase as a result of marketing, innovations and better pricing despite the grim market conditions. He stated, “We firmly believe we’ve made the right choices in the past year to deal with the global economic crisis, but we also know we can and must deliver better overall results.”
#2 Elance Contest Offers A Lucky Freelancer Free Health Insurance For A Year
While freelancers enjoy flexibility, they also have difficulty finding affordable health insurance. As government leaders hash out the details of getting health care for all Americans, freelancers worry about how to cut their medication costs and pay for doctor and hospital expenses.
Elance, a website offering opportunities for freelancers and the people hiring them, is currently conducting a contest offering free health insurance for a year. These contests bring more attention to the number of freelance workers struggling to obtain health insurance and to make a living.
#3 Toys R Us Makes Luxury Purchases A Little Easier
Toys R Us has been working to help parents get rid of potentially unsafe cribs, car seats and high chairs in favor of safer new models. Between August 28 and September 20, all Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations accepted returns of used cribs, bassinets, play yards, high chairs, car seats, strollers and travel systems in exchange for 20 percent off the purchase of a new item in these product categories.
Chief executive Jerry Storch said, “We are all looking for ways to stretch our dollars, but in doing so, children’s safety should not be compromised.” He encourages buyers and retailers to be “vigilant about potentially unsafe children’s items that might still be in the marketplace.” The trade in helps get faulty products out of commission and puts kids in a safer new setup.
Bottom Line: Consumer Actions ARE Powerful!
In a difficult economy, we often feel powerless but in actuality, we’re NOT. We have the power to make educated choices about what we buy. We can recycle and Freecycle to give something away or get something we really need. Choosing store brand and generic products helps drive down the cost of equivalent brand name items. Raising awareness about major concerns such as health care brings national attention to this important issue. When consumers refuse to fall into financial traps and decide to spend their money more wisely, they help govern the nature of the current marketplace.