How to Read the Diaper Index

Posted on October 24, 2011


The Diaper Index may be the most honest and frightening indicator of the real state of the economy.

According to the Wall Street Journal parents are actually buying fewer diapers per baby in an effort to cut costs.

The report about parents that are actually rationing diapers on a per-day basis as opposed to an as-needed one accompanies an article about how frugal has set in as the new normal.

According to Ann Zimmerman who wrote the piece, many consumers who traded down during the recent recession never traded back up.

She describes many shoppers as being in a, “permanent state of consumer caution,” and says, “they buy only what they need, avoid premium labels, clip coupons and scour sales.”

I’ll leave the psychological ramifications of diaper rationing to other, more qualified, bloggers but on a practical level if people are cutting back on diapers their entertainment budget was surely cut a long time ago and probably won’t be back anytime soon.

It’s a good reminder that, regardless of your audience’s Diaper Index, you should be a resource for your cash-strapped listeners. Here’s a few simple ways to help:

  1. Identify Deals: Scour the local community for inexpensive entertainment opportunities to tell your audience about.
  2. Create Opportunities: If you can’t find low-cost entertainment options in your city build your own. Work with theater managers, local concert halls, improv groups, bowling alleys and anyone else you can think of to create unique low or no-cost events.
  3. Provide Ideas: Use your blog, Web site or Facebook page to lay out easy to follow plans for do-it-yourself at-home entertainment. Think Bunco leagues and block parties.
  4. Help People in Need: While I’m being somewhat flippant about “The Diaper Index,” the fact is if people are cutting back on diapers for their baby they are really hurting. Along with your suggestions include ways your audience can help those less fortunate than themselves.

Regardless of whether your audience is at an age where diaper prices matter to them or not, the reality is your listener’s are nervous about the future and have probably cut back on many things they used to enjoy.

If you can help them find ways to get back the fun times they’ve been forced to cut out they will repay in the most important way possible; tuning in regularly.