Posts Tagged ‘used cars’

The Conserver Economy

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Consumer spending is slowing, out of fear of economic uncertainty, and reduced credit options.   Spending is down, but its not just that they are spending less - their spending patterns are changing.  People are seeking value, working harder to squeeze more out of their money.  One of the biggest values around is re-using goods that are already out there.  This also happens to be one of the greenest options around.

New cars are nice, but they lose a large percentage of their value as soon as you drive them off the lot.  While people are leery of used cars, there are certain great values to be had in used cars.  While new car sales have stalled, people will still be buying cars at some point, and they might turn increasingly to used cars.  While used car sales are affected by the credit crunch, dealers in some areas have reported that used car sales have decreased less than new cars, or even increased.  Used cars are also a very green option, particularly with fuel efficient used cars.  Cars take a lot of energy and materials to manufacture, so buying a used car to get more out of it helps to save that “embodied energy“. 

Used clothing is another example.  Consumers may not be flocking to the malls in the same numbers as a few months ago, but they will still be buying clothes.  Their choices may tend more toward Wal-Mart though, or quality items in thrift shops.  The Plato’s Closet chain of used clothing stores has been doing strong business, with sales in stores up over 20% in August compared to a year ago.  Franchises of Plato’s Closet or other stores owned by Winmark are available for a $20,000 fee and a percentage of weekly sales. 

Used goods may not sound eco-chic, but saving money and going green with used goods may prove highly fashionable as long as the economy remains slow.  This trend may even have a longer term green impact on the consumer economy, changing it to the conserver economy.