The New York Times has an interesting chart showing that retail stores of liquor, restaurant expenditures and computers are up, and almost everything else is down.
Why liquor? I believe liquor always goes up during a financial crash (as do things like Pepto Bismal, which treat stomach jitters).
Why computers? Well, during the Great Depression, the sale of movie tickets skyrocketed, as movies provided cheap entertainment and escape from the economic misery.
Movies are now fairly expensive, but there is alot of free entertainment on the web. So – in addition to any business reasons for buying new computers – I think computers will be the escape of choice during this downturn.
Why restaurants? Many families are opting for “staycations” (vacations in one’s own town instead of traveling).
My guess is that many families are saving a lot of money by skipping vacations away from home, but are eating out a little more as their big splurge. In other words, they may be saving thousands by staying home on vacations, and spending an extra hundred of dollars or so on meals out – to make vacationing at home seem a little less mundane.
Similarly, instead of buying that bigger house or that new car, my guess is that many families are staying with what they’ve already got, but splurging on meals out.