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December 6, 2012 6:25 AM   Subscribe

"HS Dent, an economic forecasting firm, compiled Census data [PDF] on spending behavior and presented them as a series of demand curves... The curves measure average annual expenditure for a given product over the age of the consumer." posted by griphus (38 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The data nerd in me really likes this. One that deserves deeper delving is the Smoking curve.. the social cost of smoking has shifted a lot over the last several decades. I'd be curious to see if the hump in that bell curve has moved along with the social attitudes toward in.
posted by DigDoug at 6:31 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Men really let themselves go once they hit their 40s.

Finally, I'm ahead of the curve.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:37 AM on December 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I agree it would be great to see how these curves change over the decades. Very interesting even in this form, though. Thanks!
posted by alms at 6:38 AM on December 6, 2012


I also like how the captions get snarkier the further down you get.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:38 AM on December 6, 2012


Presented without comment.
posted by OmieWise at 6:43 AM on December 6, 2012


Yeah, I'm ahead of the curve on that one.
posted by ook at 6:45 AM on December 6, 2012


For old men, does underwear become...optional?

My grandad passed when I was 15 or so, I never really knew him. My mom said his bureau was filled with unopened packages of underwear. Somebody needs to study this, and then not tell me the results of that study.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:45 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


You needed to know that.
posted by ook at 6:45 AM on December 6, 2012


Men really let themselves go once they hit their 40s.

Another possible explanation is that, for men, the primary "person care" expenses have to do with their hair (gel, haircuts, shampoo) and a lot of men go bald.
posted by VTX at 6:46 AM on December 6, 2012


Men really let themselves go once they hit their 40s.

Which is also when musical instrument purchases peak.

There are no such things as coincidences.
posted by griphus at 6:46 AM on December 6, 2012


I like how my social life is measured in admission fees.

Oh and I'm pretty sure there's an alternative explanation for why older men might spend less on haircuts.

And the lawncare one doesn't necessarily represent more work done, just more work paid for.
posted by DU at 6:47 AM on December 6, 2012


Ugh and the relevance of math and spending on calculators are related how? These curves are stupid.
posted by DU at 6:49 AM on December 6, 2012


And the lawncare one doesn't necessarily represent more work done, just more work paid for.

That would be why it's an expenditure curve and not a work-done curve, yes.
posted by griphus at 6:52 AM on December 6, 2012


I like how my social life is measured in admission fees.

Well I know that's how I judge you.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:56 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That would be why it's an expenditure curve and not a work-done curve, yes.

The caption on that one was "But grandma's garden always looked nice." But that curve does not support that comment.
posted by DU at 6:58 AM on December 6, 2012


I like how my social life is measured in admission fees.

It's pretty ridiculous, because at least around here, the primary sign of a successful social life is never paying to get in anywhere.
posted by elizardbits at 7:04 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The person who wrote that caption also does not know my grandmother. Hijinx!
posted by shakespeherian at 7:04 AM on December 6, 2012


Mine's measured out in coffee spoons.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:05 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'd love to see the way the curves change over time.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:07 AM on December 6, 2012


GET OFF MY LAWN
posted by Greg Nog at 7:08 AM on December 6, 2012


I have to wait until I'm fifty to buy a men's fur? Drat.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:22 AM on December 6, 2012


According to Google Trends, we've passed peak "get off my lawn".
posted by 445supermag at 7:24 AM on December 6, 2012


Hi, I'm a business writer who doesn't understand the difference between an age effect and a cohort effect!
posted by enn at 7:36 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


"20-year-olds drink just as much as 70-year-olds."

Uh, no. Your data shows 20-year-olds spend as much on drinks as 70-year-olds. But if the 20-year-old is buying cases of Coors, and the 70-year-old getting single-malt...
posted by fings at 7:38 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this thread going to be anything aside from complaining about the captions while ignoring that they were written with tongue in cheek?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:40 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


But that curve does not support that comment.

Flagged as "let it go".
posted by adamdschneider at 7:43 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you hate the captions, just look at the PDF. More information, less annoyance.

Far as I'm concerned, this is a fascinating set of data, and some idiot business writer has nothing to do with it.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:49 AM on December 6, 2012


One that deserves deeper delving is the Smoking curve..

You mean this one?: LOLSMOKERS

This curve is driven by the much more rapid rate of death among smokers, noticeable beginning around age 50 and accelerating after that. By age 80, the costs are diluted almost 7-fold, which is about right given the relative all-cause mortality hazard.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:01 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


My observation after a quick review was that most of these had absolute or minor peaks around 50-55. Maybe that's just when you're able and comfortable spending. I can relate, 'cause I'm there.
posted by achrise at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2012


Is this thread going to be anything aside from complaining about the captions while ignoring that they were written with tongue in cheek?

no

never
posted by elizardbits at 9:22 AM on December 6, 2012


These curves are actually quite useful for predicting big social trends. For example we know there are two large generational cohorts, the Baby Boomers (50+) and their children the Millennials (-30) who are actually bigger than the Boomers. As these cohorts move through the curves graphed here, they literally create and destroy markets. As a market-based society, we can plot things out and determine where we are today compared to where we will be in the future. This would need some software using demographic data but should be possible to show expansion and contraction of markets into the future.
posted by stbalbach at 10:08 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep hearing that advertisers are only interested in the 18-34 year old audience. From these graphs it looks like should go after people in their 50s instead.
posted by Triplanetary at 10:25 AM on December 6, 2012


I keep hearing that advertisers are only interested in the 18-34 year old audience. From these graphs it looks like should go after people in their 50s instead.

Maybe the advertisers just think 18-34 year-olds are the most susceptible to advertising. A guy in his 50's has probably decided pretty definitively which toothpaste he likes and which razor he prefers to shave with.
posted by straight at 11:02 AM on December 6, 2012


I'm actually surprised by the air travel curve - I seem to see mostly people in their 20s and 30s when I fly.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:14 PM on December 6, 2012


I like how the cigarette curve is smooth, but the alcohol has a 20 year divot. I presume this is the "responsible adult" phase of life that ends when your kids hit college.
posted by pwnguin at 5:03 PM on December 6, 2012


Indeed, some of the more obvious charts (college tuition) leads me to gather you don't buy the following things when you have kids in the house: alcohol, china, glassware, cars, watches and nice clothes. Sadly, nothing amusing / insightful.
posted by pwnguin at 5:11 PM on December 6, 2012


These curves are actually quite useful for predicting big social trends...

Exactly. And according to Mr. Dent, demographics are about to crash the economy.
posted by Bron at 6:32 PM on December 6, 2012


Exactly. And according to Mr. Dent, demographics are about to crash the economy.

Oh, THAT H.S. Dent. The one who put out Roaring 2000s about three months before the dot-com bubble burst, then more recently a guide on how to prosper during the great boom of 2006-2010. The investment world's Dick Morris; the stopped clock that is only right once every other day.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:33 PM on December 6, 2012


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