- American consumers' response to economic slowdown: a ratchet effect
"Spending for a rainy day," U.S. News & World Report, April 23, 2001
Consumer demand is believed to be a function of taste, price and income. Taste and income are positively related, and price is negatively related, to demand. With the significant decline in stock market and its paper wealth in 2000-2001, as well as a mild recession, the disposable income of American households significantly declined, and consumers had to adjust their consumption patterns accordingly. more >>
- American household debts fuel its economic growth
"Fueled by debt, the economy roars on," U.S. News & World, September 18, 2000
Encouraged by the growing economy, the rising price of houses and the stock market, as well as the historically low interest rate, American households in the year 2000 were borrowing record amounts of money. Aggressive marketing by lending institutions further spurred the pattern. Between 1990 and 2000, household debts in the U. more >>
- Ascertaining changing consumer demands: the case of the home office
"Offices by the Hour," Time,. February 1, 1999
In Japan, hotel known as "business hotels" are very popular among business people. Instead of renting a room for a day, a room in a business hotel can be rent by the hour during business hours, so that a person can take a shower and wait for a business meeting.
The same concept can apply to a temporary office rented by the hour, and this is becoming popular in the United States. more >>
- Can videoconferencing become as popular as the Internet?
"Videoconferencing May Get Much-Needed Critical Mass" New York Times, October 4, 2001.
The Internet, e-mail and fax machines are now common features of businesses and households. Yet the picture-phone, which enables callers to see each other on television screens, and videoconferencing have been failures, although appropriate technology exists to make them a reality if there are demands for them.
In the high tech industry, consumers purchase a good or service only when a sufficient number of other consumers have already bought the same good or service. more >>
- Changes in consumer behavior after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center
"Sales Drop and Spending Crawls as Uncertainty Grips Economy," New York Times, September 30, 2001
The September 11, 2001 airline attacks caused a profound change in general consumer behavior in the U.S. Understandably, an immediate and obvious change was the extreme reluctance and aversion of general public to flying and tourism. As a consequence airlines and hotels, theme parks, rental cars and airport restaurants suffered significantly. more >>
- Consumer confidence amidst the business recession of 2001
"The Split Personality Economy," Newsweek, July 23, 2001
In 2001, U.S. businesses were in general very sluggish with deep declines in corporate profits and significant unemployment, especially in the high tech industry. Yet, amidst this gloomy business outlook, consumers continued to spend lavishly. more >>
- Consumer fatigue in industrialized countries and economic recession
"This time it's different", Time , January 8,2001
As an economy grows, it passes through three stages of progress. In the first stage, the economy consists of the primary sector of agriculture, mining, and fishing, whose products are consumed directly without transformation through manufacturing process. In the second stage, the dominant sector is the secondary sector of manufacturing, which transforms raw materials into finished products, such as canned fish. more >>
- Customers react to an increase in restaurant prices
"Those sticky fingers," U.S. News & World Report, June 4, 2001
The Law of Demand states that price and quantity demanded are inversely related. If the price goes up, consumers demand less of the good. However, how do consumers react if the good is something so desirable that they hate to consume less even at a higher price? (i. more >>
- Does the Internet change consumers' behaviors?
"Only the cyberlonely," U.S. News & World Report, February 28, 2000
Consumer goods are meant to serve the sovereign consumers. Yet once in a while, new products are introduced which may revolutionize the existing habits or systems of consumers. In terms of production, the invention of the steam engine was such an event that we call it industrial revolution. more >>
- How producers react to demand by consumers: Moore's Law and the computer industry
"Leaving Moore's Law in the dust," U.S. News & World Report, July 10, 2000
If you ever played a computer game, then you might have wished that the flight simulator be more realistic and receptive to your handling, or that the enemy plane could be seen in realistic three dimensions with a sharp image. Achieving such visually compelling images requires a smaller computer chip, which is able to contain more information. As a consequence, chip manufacturers are constantly endeavoring to reduce the size of the chip. more >>
- How to adapt to changing consumer demand: the case of Kellogg
"Crunch Time at Kellogg," Newsweek, February 14, 2000
Many Americans commute to work for more than an hour in a round trip, and sitting down for breakfast, even for a bowel of cereal with milk, is a luxury that many of them cannot afford. Instead, they snack on something while driving, and the snack has to fit in one hand while the other hand is on the steering wheel.
Kellogg used to be the largest supplier of traditional breakfast cereal in the United States, with 40% share of the total market. more >>
- How to increase the supply of opera performances without increasing the number of opera singers
"Straining for the cheap seats, singers get help," U.S. News & World Report, October 18,1999
Demand for live opera performances is declining in America. The high cost of labor makes opera ticket prices very high in comparison with other forms of cultural performances. In many countries, governments directly subsidize opera companies. more >>
- How to satisfy an increasing demand for a good with a fixed supply: the case of a chain gourmet restaurant
"Will too many chefs spoil the broth?" U.S. News & World Report, September 4, 2000
Ordinarily, an increase in demand raises prices, which, in turn, encourages more supply, and this, in turn, brings the price to its equilibrium level (i.e., the price at which demand and supply are exactly equal) in the long run. However, if a supply does not respond to a higher price, then a larger demand simply increases the price paid by consumers. more >>
- Income and educational levels of affluent consumers driving luxury cars
"Fixing Cadillac," Newsweek, May 28, 2001
If you wonder who is behind wheel of luxury cars, here are some interesting statistics:
| luxury car||median age||household income||% of college graduation|
Several observations can be drawn from these simple statistics. First, as percentages of college graduation increase, household income also rises. For example, compare Mercedes and Cadillac drivers. more >>
- Internet changes consumers' behaviors
"Only the cyberlonely," U.S. News & World Report, February 28, 2000
In the economy, consumers are sovereign, and consumer goods are meant to serve the sovereign king. Yet once in a while, a new product is introduced which drastically alters the existing habits of consumers as well as economic systems. The most important such example is the invention of the steam engine, which totally revolutionized the economy to such an extent that the phenomenon is referred as the industrial revolution. more >>
- Romance and medical consultation on the Web: a computer response to consumer demand
(source of information : "Hello, goodbye, hey maybe I love you?" U.S. News & World Report, June 4, 2001, and "Lots of rest and an E-mail in the morning," U.S. News & World Report, May 7, 2001
In this busy and complex economy, a web site is one of the most productive economic inventions of the modern economy. An Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) serves bank customers 24 hours a day throughout a year anywhere in the world, without holidays, sick leaves or overtime pay. Then why not use this service for romance, as well as for a conference for a medical diagnosis? This is precisely what is happening. more >>
- The thorniest problem of the modern U.S. economy is debt
"It's the debt thing," U.S. News & World Report, February 19, 2001
On average, American households spend a staggering 34% of their income for debts, which include credit card payments, as well as home mortgages and automobile leases. This debt burden is reasonably evenly distributed among households, instead of being concentrated among the wealthy.
The crucial factor that determines economic prosperity or severe recession is the level of confidence that households and business feel about the current economy. more >>
- Unknown benefits of higher education: the case of Alzheimer's disease
"Alzheimer's, What You Can Do," Time, May 14, 2001
Most people identify the benefits of higher education with desirable jobs and higher incomes. These benefits are referred to 'private benefits' accruing directly to persons pursuing higher education. There are also 'social benefits' from higher education. more >>
- What do baby boomers want for their retirement?
"The Road Ahead: A Boomer's Guide to Happiness," Newsweek, April 3, 2000
Americans born between 1946 and 1964 in America belong to a generation known as "baby boomers." There are 78 million such boomers in America, and in the year 2000, the oldest one was 55 years old. This is the age when many people start to think about retirement. more >>