Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Losing out to iPads

I'm live blogging from People Report Best Practices Conference. For clarity, you may want to drop down a few installments and read your way upward.

Here's what's happening right now:

Comments from the stage suggest that restaurants' toughest competitor may not be the convenience store, the supermarket, or even the bank that holds a potential patron's mortgage. From what the presenters have been saying, the challengers really hurting restaurant sales may be the Apple Store and BestBuy.

Several speakers have mentioned the paradox of people cutting their discretionary spending, then lining up to buy iPads. It's part of what seems to be a far more sophisticated trend than the usual straight line indication that the economy is improving or declining. For instance, it was noted that sales of craft beers and wines are improving, at the expense of less expensive choices. They may be dining out less often, but the indulge a little when they do. Or they take the money they saved and go out and get a big flatscreen TV.

That, they suggested, tends to explain why macroeconomic gauges indicate the economy is improving, but things don't look that good when you drill down.

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