GRIND ALONG: This Alarming Decade

Turntables, charcoal grills, corn poppers and bug killers were down. Nearly everything else in the electrical-appliance category was up in sales during the past 10 years, according to a 1983-92 statistical review of the industry published by Dana Chase Publications’ Appliance magazine. People who think of the ’80s as a non-stop shopping spree and the ’90s as (so far) a model of parsimony may be interested to note that average annual unit sales of consumer electronics items were 27% higher for the years 1990-92 than for the years 1983-89; and for personal-care appliances, annual unit sales in the ’90s have been averaging 67% above those for 1983-89. But one category does confirm the conventional wisdom that the ’90s has been a decade for hiding under the covers until better times come. After rising 22.1% between 1983 and 1988, annual sales of electric alarm clocks rose just 8.6% during 1988-91 and then plummeted 24% in ’92 alone – bringing the figure pretty much back to where it had been in 1983, when the country was just emerging from the sharp recession of that decade. The trouble people had in waking up in ’92 meant good news elsewhere in the electric-housewares sector, though, as sales of coffee grinders were up 5% that year. On the other hand, sales of coffee makers were down a bit. It was that kind of year.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)