HERE ARE TEN THINGS AMERICANS CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT:
Recently, "U.S. News and World Report" ran an article looking at sales figures going back to the start of the economic downturn in 2007.
--Other than essentials like food and shelter, the idea was to find the ten things Americans can't live without even when times are tough.
--Things like cigarettes, pornography, and even toilet paper all took hits. Here are ten things that didn't:
#1.) Laptops: According to the Consumer Electronics Association, laptop sales this year are expected to be twice what they were in 2007.
#2.) High-speed Internet: In a Pew Research Center survey last year, high-speed Internet was one of just three things people said was more of a necessity now than in 2006.
#3.) Smart phones: Overall, cell phone sales dropped last year for the first time ever, but sales of smart phones were actually up by 7%. And sales are expected to increase another 25% this year.
#4.) Education: Between 2008 and 2010, enrollment in private schools fell by less than 1%, while college enrollment has gone up.
#5.) Movies: Last year's total box office gross was more than $10.6 BILLION. That's a five-year high.
#6.) TV: According to a recent survey, the average American watches 18 hours of TV a week. That's two hours more than last year . . . maybe because everyone's sitting at home unemployed.
#7.) Music downloads: Last year, CD sales dropped by 21%, but song and album downloads increased by nearly as much.
#8.) Pets: For the past several years, the amount of money we spend on pet food, supplies, and veterinarian visits has continued to rise by about 5% a year.
#9.) Alcohol: Bar and restaurant sales are down, but overall sales of beer and wine are both up. In other words, people are drinking more, but they're doing it at home.
#10.) Coffee: According to the National Coffee Association, Americans have cut back on coffee from Starbucks and other restaurants by about 5% this year. But the number of Americans who make coffee at home has increased by about 4%.
(U.S. News and World Report)