It's Friday, and on Friday I splurge for the fancy coffee. Which got me thinking -- why not focus on consumer Spend Management issues at least one day a week? Hence, we'll focus Friday's Afternoon Coffee series going forward on stories covering consumer spending, trends, and savings -- instead of covering the same areas in the business and government arena. Sip on that foamy goodness.
Consumers are Saving More
The WSJ blog reports that "Households have decided that a penny earned should become a penny saved and that is what they did in April. Personal income rose nicely as the key wage and salary component jumped ... However, people hoarded that money. Spending was flat as people bought less soft goods. The consumer numbers were the weakest since last September and the combination of rising income and stable spending meant that the savings rate moved up. The 3.6% rate is nothing to get excited about but it does point to continuing consumer cautiousness."
The question we have is whether this "savings" is really savings -- or whether it's just going to paying off the mounds of debt that consumers have run up.
"Personalized medicine" and gene patents...
Not outward consumerism, but we all "consume" healthcare in some form or another. The Economist has an extremely interesting article about how "biotechnology companies have claimed that by matching a person's genetic make-up with specialised treatments, they can tailor drugs to maximise benefits and minimise side effects." So far, this hasn't happened, except "a rare exception has been the success that Myriad Genetics, an American firm, has had with two genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Certain versions of these genes, it has been shown, are associated with a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer."
The ensuing legal battles about applying patents to genes is fascinating. For someone who spends a lot of time coaching some absolutely incredible breast cancer survivors, I'd rather that every single one of them didn't end up on the team in the first place. I believe that as many doctors and research groups as possible should have access to these genes -- and whatever preventative testing and mitigating measures that can be taken, should be.
When Demand Outstrips Supply -- iPad goes global!
Hundreds of people gathered at Apple's flagship store in London to be among the first to buy an iPad. -- "Technology reporter Jonathan Fildes who went along to the Apple store said it was besieged with hundreds of people, the police were on hand to keep people in order and every time a new owner of an iPad emerged they won a cheer from the crowd. He said there was a 'carnival' atmosphere outside the store aided by the appearance of the world's tallest married couple, Wilco van-Kleef and Keisha Bolton, who turned up to promote the Guinness World Records iPad app."
I have to admit that I'm actually still a bit dubious about the iPad -- to me it just seems like a giant iPhone with no calling capability. Let's see how it does globally, shall we?
Have a good holiday weekend!! And spend wisely ...