A study of what people are willing to do without — and what they can’t — may surprise you. Like the Internet.
Via Heard on the Runway, a WSJ blog:
In an online poll of 4,000 Americans that BIGresearch and STORES magazine conducted in mid-December, a whopping 80.9% of those questioned considered Internet service an “untouchable” expense and cellphone service as “off limits” when cutting back even in a bad economy.
Among the other categories that they said could not be cut: 60.5% listed cable television, 43% listed discount apparel, 40% said hair cuts and coloring and 24% listed a new pair of shoes.
Granted, the survey appears to be slightly biased (people who are “online” are predisposed to favoring the Internet), but the sample size is substantial. Knowledge Networks’ chief statistician offers this opinion:
The KnowledgePanel® sampling approach is in sharp contrast to the unscientific method behind the ever-proliferating opt-in Internet panels. The so-called opt-in panels boast impressive numbers of members (in the millions!) made up of volunteers coming from perpetually open or pop-up invitations displayed on the Web. They are not derived from a definable population (loosely perhaps “people on the Internet”?). The opt-in members are not selected using probability methods, and thus their selection probabilities are simply unknowable and cannot be calculated. These opt-in panel members, by definition, self-select to join. In survey parlance, these are aptly referred to as convenience samples, since they are convenient to get. The point is that we don’t really know who or what these volunteers represent or how to project any data from them to a larger population. This assessment is widely supported by professional survey researchers. But, some clients still find the opt-in panel option irresistible!
With the current economic climate, consumer behavior is unquestionably shifting. Seems everybody is going through a little belt-tightening. I recently cancelled service from our cable company after they dropped the Voom HD channels. Instead, we’re opting for free, over-the-air digital TV (I have a DB4 antenna and a built-in ATSC tuner) for HDTV and a combo package from Verizon and DirecTV, until FiOS TV is available. The thought of cancelling Internet service never crossed my mind. Where’s the sacrifice, you ask? I no longer watch the Rangers in HD.