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28 Sep 2019

Ever wondered how the men purchasing less underwear can be an indicator to the slowdown of an economy? Do you think the garbage you dump out can be connected to the economy? The answer is yes; the garbage you dump out also highlights how the economy is faring.

Here are a couple of such unorthodox and freakish indices which can give an idea about the economy:

1. Men’s underwear Index:

Alan Greenspan, the former US Federal Reserve Chairman, came up with a concept indicating that an economy performing poorly will show decreasing sales in men’s underwear, while an improving economy will show an increase in underwear sales.

This theory has started showing its effect on our economy and if we look at the performance of the top four listed innerwear firms like Jockey, Dollar, etc. this quarter, was the weakest in a decade. Sales of Page Industries, which sells the Jockey brand of innerwear, grew only 2%, its slowest expansion since 2008. That of Dollar Industries and VIP Clothing declined 4% and 20%, respectively.

2. Garbage Indicator:

In case an economy slows, people often have lesser money to buy new stuff thereby reducing the amount of stuff they throw out. Shrinking disposable income is the prime reason for this indicator as people hold back from new purchases even in essential categories or FMCGs.

3. Diaper-Rash Indicator:

This is also an unusual indicator of the economy, under which parents prefer not to buy diapers for children, which is a significant cost. As a result, rashes occur, and parents spend more on diaper rash ointment. A rise in the sale of the rash ointments is an indicator of failing economy as the ointments are cheaper and mode disposable.

4. Hot Waitress Indicator:

This is an indicator which was conceptualized in New York Magazine who explained how to assess the economy based on the ‘hotness’ or appeal of a waitress. According to the idea, in times of economic recession, when there is a dormant unemployment, ‘pretty looking’ or ‘gifted’ people have to take up jobs as waitresses. Another reason to this is also that hot waiters or waitresses are the attempts to bring in more business to beat the slump.

5. First Date Indicator:

This is an indicator which claims that during a phase of economic slowdown, people use more online dating services to go on first dates as compared to the time when the economy is faring well. The poor sentiment in the markets lead to such a rise in the usage of online dating services.

6. Cosmetic Surgery Indicator:

This one is the most obvious one as people hold back on getting expensive procedures such as cosmetic surgeries when the economy is going down.

Key Takeaway:

While these factors or changes in consumer patterns may not be deliberate on the part of the masses, but it indicates to the subconscious choices made by people in times of recession. While India’s economy has received booster doses from the government, the global indices are still on a negative note and are unpredictable. The concerns for a slowdown at the global level are still among the most discussed subjects and these indicators can also help in making sense of the economic trends.

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