Seven Recession-Proof Products and Services
Girl Scout Cookies
It's Girl Scout cookie time again, your chance to order those Tagalongs, Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos. According to the Girl Scout organization, the demand for these treats hasn't fallen victim to the recession, chugging along at sales of nearly 200 million boxes each year for the past five years. Is it the product or the salesgirl? That's a no-brainer. There are thousands of stores selling cookies, but only a limited number of darling granddaughters, nieces and goddaughters.Distilled Spirits
The recession was bad news for beer brewers, but those of us who prefer a cocktail didn't go on the wagon even a little bit during the recession. Distillers saw sales of whiskey, vodka, gin and the like continue a steady climb, up 1.7% in 2008 and another 1.4% in 2009. Since 2009, the market sales have risen from around 148 million 9-liter cases to approximately 185 million cases. In 2010, industry revenue was an estimated $6.7 billion.
The increase didn't reflect more nightclubbing, though; drinking on-premise was down 3%, meaning that more people were buying booze and taking it home to enjoy. Or drown their sorrows.
The recession may have left some people hungry, but that shortcoming didn't extend to their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, expenditures on pets (birds, cats, dogs, equines, fish, reptiles and small mammals) has climbed steadily for at least the past 10 years, reaching an estimated $47.7 billion in 2010.
The APPA reports that in 2009, we divided our pet dollars this way:
26.5% Vet bills
22.9% Supplies and over-the-counter medicines
7.4% Grooming and boarding
4.7% Live animal purchases
Perhaps the fact that many laid-off workers had more free time on their hands accounts for the increase in hunting expenditures. Or perhaps it was the need to supplement grocery purchases. Either way, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in 2008, the industry had a direct economic impact of $6.8 billion, and in 2009, that number rose to $11.3 billion, a 66% increase in just one year.
This was good news for struggling state budgets, too, as business taxes paid by industry members increased from $1.5 billion to $2 billion.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, its most recent comprehensive survey in 2006 showed there were 12.5 million adult hunters in the U.S., who hunted for 220 million days and took 185 million trips whose primary purpose was hunting.
Perhaps we've become even more aware of how important scholastic achievement is in a recession. How else to explain that private tutoring has been growing at a rate of 5% during the recession? According to research organization IBISWorld, the tutoring, test preparation, driving school and other education sector was an $8.8 billion industry in 2010, up by $87 million over 2009. It employs almost a quarter of a million people.
Perhaps it's the stress of the recession, but one sector that hasn't seen shrinkage is the condom market. According to the Nielsen Company, as quoted by USA Today, sales actually swelled by 5% in the last quarter of 2008, and another 6% month over month in January of 2009, even as the Dow continued its nosedive.
Pain has a wonderful way of reordering your monetary priorities, which probably accounts for the ever-increasing number of joint replacement surgeries performed in the U.S., even during the depths of the recession. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in 2008, as we plunged into unknown financial territory, the number of knee replacements surgeries jumped from 551,259 in 2007 to 616,617. Total hip replacements made a similar leap, from 252,680 to 277,399.