Trading Up

10:39 AM

What do you trade down, so you can trade up?

Not so easy to answer, huh?

While attending my second seminar at the Almond Conference this year, a marketing guru brought up this notion of consumers trading up. This peaked interest and made me instantly think of what I trade up for.

His, on the spot, analaogy is that the middle class in another country is willing to trade up a watch (buy a new, nicer watch than the current one they own), and in turn trade down on socks. I know, socks is the best he could come up with! But you get the point. What items do you consicously decide to upgrade, knowing that you will have to downgrade something in return?

One that comes to mind, is every other year I will trade up to a pair of Citizens of Humanity’s, but I trade down the other years and buy Forevs/Old Navy/Urban Outfitter jeans. I know this is superficial, but this it is what what I do.

Another one is when I decided to start attend Midtown Strength and Conditioning, I was trading up in a gym membership (although I still can go to 24 Hour Fitness, I’ve prepaid until January 2015). I had to trade down in random other aspects of life – less going out to eat, less clothes shopping – other aspecs, of which I cannot directly pinpoint.

More than anything, it was just an interesting food for thought. It made me sit and think about as a consumer, what do I trade up. Most things are luxuries that I use my (seemingly very limited) disposable income to purchase.

Since I’m running obsessed lately, it makes me wonder – What do runners trade up in? Paying for the high profile, exclusive races and trading down on local smaller runs? Trade up on specific gear, but trade down on work clothes?

However, I think it also applies to other aspects in life. Maybe not in the exact essence of what a marketer would use to analyze an item to be desired as the “trade-up item”. But take for instance ‘time’. We trade up time with certain friends/family, by trading down time for chores/errands/other friends/family. Maybe I’m slightly off kilter here, but I think this idea of “trading up” can be applied to many decisions in one’s life.

It makes you wonder, is it really worth “trading-up”?

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