Purchase Decisions

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Article: How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All

Rather long (about 15 minute read) but intriguing article from The Atlantic that provides great context for trends that I have blogged about the growth of online shopping (here and here). The article describes how in this era of “big data” retailers are harnessing consumer information to price discriminate and obliterate the concept of a fixed price.

Here are a few excerpts:

Trends: What Do You Buy Online?

Ask your students which of the following items they tend to purchase online:

  • Books?
  • Toys?
  • Electronics?
  • Clothing?
  • Food and Beverage?

See how their answers line up with current and expected online sales trends are for each of these categories. Notice how online sales are expected to continue to gain on “bricks and mortar” sales: 

Audio Resource: How Does Our Spending Reflect Our Values?

Just done listening to this 28 minute Hidden Brain podcast “Money Talks” which asks such provocative questions such as:

  • Would you buy clothing from a department store if you knew the apparel was made in a sweatshop?
  • If you have a choice between a local coffee shop and a national chain, which would you choose?
  • Does how a company treats its employees (e.g, Uber) or customers (e.g., United) factor into your purchasing decision?

I also learned a new term listening to this podcast:”buycott”, which is the opposite of boycott. You will also hear about some interesting research findings about how ethics play into purchase decisions.

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Chart of the Week: What Are Your Two Favorite Platforms for Watching “Television?”

 

The answer to this question has budgetary implications given how the cost differential between the platforms. If you are a millennial, your top four platforms, based on a recent survey, are:

  • Netflix
  • Cable TV
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime

Hat tip to VisualCapitalist for this infographic: 

Interactive: What Do Consumers Spend Their Money On?

If you are a data geek, you will love this interactive tool/data visualization from Flowing Data (be sure to click on the link to take advantage of the interactive nature of the tool):

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 4.26.15 PM

Let me provide some context for what you are looking at. Here are the data sources:

Question: Can You Really Build Wealth Earning The Minimum Wage?

Thought-provoking infographic from Visual Capitalist. I like the question because the knee jerk reaction to the question would be “of course not.” The infographic lists 10 ways to be able to build wealth while earning a low wage. Frankly these tips work for people at all income strata which is why I am including it here. Some questions for your students:

By |April 2nd, 2017|Current Events, Index Funds, Purchase Decisions, Savings|

Podcast: How Does Scarcity (Time, Money, Relationships) Impact Our Brain?

Thanks for my friend Dan Mennel for pointing this podcast out to me: Hidden Brain: Tunnel Vision (Episode 65, 36:34)

What I like about this podcast:

The first fifteen minutes of the podcast deal with the issue of money scarcity and describe how our brains are wired to handle it and how our responses often meet short-term needs at the expense of our long-term goals.

From Hidden Brain website: When you’re hungry, it can be hard to think of anything other than food. When you’re desperately poor, you may constantly worry about making ends meet. When you’re lonely, you might obsess about making friends. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore the psychological phenomenon of scarcity and how it can affect our ability to see the big picture and cope with problems in our lives.

  • Timeline:

Articles: The History of the Department Store and the Modern Day Department Store Destroyer

Two articles that I thought your students might enjoy since shopping seems top of mind for many teens. I think these would be particularly good as a supplement for your investing or entrepreneurship lessons. One article describes the rise of the department store (Inventing the Department Store in Barrons; about 5 minutes reading) and the other describes the modern day Leviathan that is destroying department stores and other competitors too (Amazon: Primed from the Economist (three articles free per week); about 15 minutes reading).

A Q&A follows focused on the key takeaways from the readings.

Some highlights from the Barrons article:

What led to the first department stores being opened in London? 

As affluence increased in the 18th century and the Industrial Revolution made more goods available, shopping began to evolve into what would become the department store. The first ones began by catering to the most common type of shoppers, women. The first real department store, Harding, Howell & Cos.’ Grand Fashionable Magazine, opened in London in 1796. Its four departments carried furs, jewelry, dresses, and hats, and accessories such as lace and gloves.

Who brought concept to US? Alexander Stewart

What was his insight that led to their popularity?