What Else Acts Like Cheap Wine and Cigarettes?

It’s interesting to see how people’s spending patterns respond to a (presumably) temporary decline in income during the recession.

Which items are more or less income-elastic in the short run? A pediatrician friend of ours mentions that he is seeing less business; when there are three kids with coughs, for example, a parent will bring in one, get him diagnosed, then treat the other two the same way at home — thus saving two co-payments.

The Austin marathon, the biggest race of the year, will not have its usual corporate sponsors, and thus no elite runners either. I expect that, as in the last recession, there will also be a large decline in plastic surgeries.

All of these appear to be postponable luxuries — and I wonder what are other weird examples? Also, aside from the usual suspects (grocery purchases being the standard example), what else doesn’t decrease much? Pornography, cigarettes, cheap wine?

(Hat tip: AS)

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  1. Ben says:

    I have never allowed my pediatrician to charge me for two visits when both kids have the same thing. I don’t care what the state of the economy is – that’s just prudence.

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  2. Tkwon CMS says:

    McDonalds/Burger King are probably going to do well amidst the recession (seeing that they are inferior goods compared to traditional restaurants)
    T.V. stations are probably going to pull in bigger numbers, since more people will stay at home than go to out.

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  3. brazzy says:

    Um… did I get that right? Children’s health is a “postponable luxury”???

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  4. Eddie S. says:

    Dry Cleaning. People who wear suits to work can’t switch to a different outfit while there is no other close substitute for cleaning them. And I really hope wearing the same shirt twice does not count as a substitute.

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  5. Jeremy Miles says:

    Cheap wine might do better, as cheap wine is only a little worse than expensive wine, but a whole lot better than no wine at all.

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  6. Tom says:

    Regarding Porn, Kink.com, recently laid off 13 employees, about 10% of it’s SF workforce. Less ppl are paying for subscriptions, and possibly being more satisfied with the free verisions of pay sites.

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  7. Sbard says:

    I wasn’t aware that people actually paid for pornography anymore.

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  8. Howard Tayler says:

    I’m hoping “demand for print collections of online comics” stays good. My business has almost doubled each year for the last three years.

    I’ve seen presenters in the comics world explain how during the Great Depression and during the recession of the early 80’s comics boomed. I don’t know how much actual, non-anecdotal research was done, though. And I don’t know how much of it applies today to the Free Content Business Model in use by online cartoonists like myself.

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