A Decade of Change: Trends in Consumer Marketing 1954–1964

With election addresses and speeches still echoing in our ears, we are all only too well aware of the overall growth and the many changes of the past decade. But only when I started to think more deeply about tonight's subject, did I realize how fundamental some of the developments have in fact been. We live through these developments as consumers and therefore take them for granted. It is only in retrospect that one becomes aware of what in fact amount to minor revolutions which have been taking place in the fields of marketing around us:

Overall consumer spending up 63% with increases as high as 225% in spending on, for instance, vehicles and their maintenance (though clearly part of these increases are the result of inflation); 'Which' selling 450,000 copies and having over two million readers; Retail Price Maintenance still a holy cow in 1954, collapsed and abolished; the number of people all over the country eating meals out; Bloom and Duomatic come and gone; the Hire Purchase debt trebled; Press display advertising up 80% and television advertising, non-existent ten years ago, now almost as big as Press display advertising then; trading stamps and cigarette coupons; 30% of all retail trade in the hands of multiples; the decrease of football attendances because of other attractions—bowling alleys, television, etc.; completely new consumer goods industries such as aerosols and frozen foods firmly established as part of our everyday lives; the money that is being spent and the attention that is being paid to women's hair (and temporarily, I hope, it seems also to young men's hair)—these are just some of the spectacular changes of the past ten years.