Time taken:: Analysis + Typing out = 35 minutes

The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine:

“On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

The author concludes that the departmental stores’ sales will increase with increasing middle-aged population since the middle-aged customers spend a substantial part of their expenditure on purchases from these stores. The argument presented is pretty weak as it is based on questionable assumptions.

Firstly the author assumes that the age of a customer is the only parameter involved in deciding where he would like to make his purchases from. It wrongly assumes that as soon as the customers enter their middle-age, they’ll develop an inclination for purchasing from departmental stores. The conclusion is ridiculous and wrongly maps the behavior of current generation with the future generations.

Actually, the spending pattern may be a matter of habit. Perhaps not many options were available to the common man ten years ago and the customers had to rely on these departmental stores. In the present world, there are numerous options available for the customer: shopping malls, online shops are just a few of these. Just as the current middle-aged customers chose to continue their habit of purchasing from departmental stores, it’s more likely that the presently young customer will continue shopping from his currently preferred sources when he enters his middle-age.

Furthermore, the author’s suggestion of replacing the goods targeted at younger people with those attracting middle-aged people may actually backfire. Not only will this result in a drop in current sales by dissociating the current younger customers of the store, but also result in adverse future effects as the younger customer may never choose to return back even in his middle age when he finds that his choice of goods is not available in the store.

To conclude, the author’s argument is not persuasive at all and in fact, if implemented, his suggestions may prove disastrous to the departmental stores.

2 Responses to “AWA Analysis of an Argument#8”

  1. Aim says:

    Your analysis is good. I think one more assumption of “there shall be an increase in the number of middle age customers” can be questioned? Because as young customers will become middle age, middle will grow old and kids will grow young. What say?

  2. Atul says:

    1. Question the average data. Its possible that number of middleage customers surveyed were less (with more spending)and youngsters were more in number. In which case the average would have been different.

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