The feel good factor

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My grandmother believed that tough times have a good side in the sense that they impose certain financial discipline on people who otherwise would never learn to behave in a financially responsible manner. These lessons often stay with them for life, she said.
Ernst & Young in its Annual Discretionary Income Study has recently reported that people’s disposable incomes have fallen to their lowest for five years. After household bills and tax, the typical family has less than 19.96% of its gross income left to spend on non-essentials, compared with 28.38% in 2003. This definitely gives a feel for how difficult times are ahead of us, if they are not already upon us.
Meanwhile, I listened to a radio interview with a so-called shopping advisor who stated that in tough times more than ever consumers want to feel good parting with their cash, and to be certain that they have made a right decision. If shopping was only about parting with money in exchange for goods we all would have become Internet shoppers. The ‘feel good factor’ is so closely linked to good retail advice that she predicted a return of good old-fashion service, with its value rising significantly.
Coincidentally, the head of Alphason, Chris Emmerson, has told me recently that it is during times of economic downturn when the independent shows what he is best at – adding value to the products he sells. I also think that the independent is in the best position to dispense this ‘feel good’ factor during a recession.

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