AWA 25


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.”

The argument in the opinion column of the financial magazine is unconvincing because its conclusion depends on unsubstantiated assumption of retail expenditure habits of middle-aged and younger consumers. Each of the following areas merit further explanation before it can be given any degree of credibility of its conclusion of replacing the products intended to attract the younger consumer with the products intended to attract the middle-aged consumers.

Firstly, the column lacks to give any substantial proof to prove the expenditure habits of the middle-aged and younger consumers as given in the column. It might be possible that the results might have been collected from some not so trustworthy source. Additionally, unless the information about the procedures or methods adopted to target the consumers are mentioned for the data given to show the expenditure habit of the middle-aged and younger consumer, it will be very hard to accept the rosy figures mentioned in the column. In such a scenario, the column should give some additional information to validate its source of information in the column.

Secondly, while the column predicts that the middle-aged consumers will increase in the next decade, it fails to provide any logical reasons for any such change. For example, assuming that the current younger generation moves to the middle-aged consumer in the next decade, then it is highly unlikely that the expenditure habits will change and as per the figures mentioned in the column, the retail expenditures will rather decrease than increase.

Lastly, the column fails to provide any logical connection of the sales of the products to the spending habits of the consumers. For example, it might be possible that even though the middle-aged consumers spend 39 percent, it might be possible that they might be involved in only necessary expenditures and their products might be either close or not so much profitable products. On the other hand, it might be possible that the younger consumers might be interested in more profitable products like cell phones though they might be spending less. Thus, the author needs to provide more concrete relationship on the spending habits of the middle-aged and younger consumers to strengthen his points.

Due to the many holes in the reasoning in the arguments of the report, it is difficult to take the arguments seriously. Unless further evidence surface in each of the areas discussed above, the given premises are insufficient proof that the conclusion drawn is viable.

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