Magazine article Marketing

Homing in on a 90s Strategy

Magazine article Marketing

Homing in on a 90s Strategy

Article excerpt

As economic recovery recedes yet again into the future, the search for triggers to growth becomes urgent. Last week, car company chiefs asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Michael Heseltine for help. But what about the rest of us?

Vast swatches of the UK economy are tied to the coattails of house purchase. When the housing boom was in full swing, sectors such as furniture, carpets, white goods, DIY, and financial services had growth handed to them on a plate.

But as boom turned to bust, prolonged recession was handed back. Marketers were left twiddling their thumbs, waiting for a recovery over which they had no control, or else trying to force growth by other means, such as mutually suicidal price wars.

Now it's clear we can't keep on waiting for the good old days of housing led consumer spending to return. Consumers have had their fingers burnt and will remain suspicious of debt for many years. Despite falling interest rates, debt repayments will continue to suck billions of pounds out of household incomes. And the UK's links to the European monetary system mean credit growth of the 80s will not be repeated.

All of which means that the time is ripe for a much needed structural reform of the housing market. …

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