First Up: Credit-Crunched Consumers
5. Watch the Credit Industry to Gauge Changes
Finally, as the economic situation develops, both Rice and Hopkins are keeping their eyes on the credit situation to measure future changes in consumer behavior. "Watch the credit card companies. That's what we do. That's the core of it all," Rice says.
"What's really important for us to see with the economic conditions is how intertwined credit is to many of the different industries," explains Hopkins. She speculates that purchase behavior in the automotive and retail industries will change relative to the availability of consumer credit. "American Express is always the one to watch ... if you see the restrictions change on that particular card, then that's the universe where American Express is saying, ‘These people can truly put this money on their card every month and pay it 100 percent back,' and that universe will shrink every day," Rice warns.