Sep 22 2014
Alison Isenberg’s “Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It” explores shopping districts across America. I was particularly interested in her research on the demographics behind these shopping districts. Delbert W. Wenzlick studied four distinct categories of shoppers: wives and mothers, single women, men, and African-Americans. Wives and mothers, also known as “family shoppers,” were of particular interest to researchers, who knew that wives and mothers handled the budget for their families and did the bulk of the shopping themselves. On the other hand, researchers did not focus much on African-American shoppers. Most cities, especially in the segregated south, had separate black business districts. African-Americans typically supported the shops within these districts. This all constituted an early form of market research.
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