Our grandparents tell stories about being frugal and making things last, but guess what? Recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that we are holding on to “durable goods” longer than consumers did 50 years ago. However, economic indicators show consumers are now ready to replace those worn-out items.
According to Bloomberg News, the average age of consumer durable goods — long-lasting items such as furniture, appliances and computers — is the highest since 1962. That’s according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis dating to 1925.
The big news for rural lifestyle dealers, lawn mowers are among the things that Americans are keeping for a long time. The average age of home and garden tools is 5.1 years, the highest since 1961.
And, economists say consumers are now ready to spend. Such purchases are “postpone-able for only so long,” according to John Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. Increases in home values, along with gains in consumer confidence, incomes and employment from recessionary lows, make “people sense it’s worth putting money back into that house” with purchases such as appliances.
Bob Bergeth, general manager of national contract builder sales for appliance maker Whirlpool, says: “There is quite a bit of pent-up demand.”
What about bigger ticket items? Automobile sales are headed for their best year since 2007, according to analysts. Perhaps that could mean a spill over into other larger purchases in rural areas, such as tractors.
Bottom line: Consumers are ready to spend and ‘tis the season of spending. Here’s hoping that rural lifestylers will be taking lawn equipment for a test drive on Christmas day.
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