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USA Today

According to Prof. Yossi Sheffi, increasing customer demand is the driving force behind the supply chain bottlenecks impacting the global delivery network. “The smoking gun for consumer demand as the main culprit is that bottlenecks didn’t emerge as a significant hurdle until spring of 2021, says Sheffi…That was after the federal government has juiced spending by sending three rounds of stimulus checks to most households,” writes Paul Davidson for USA Today.

New York Times

New York Times reporter Daisuke Wakabayashi highlights a paper written by Prof. Glenn Ellison, head of MIT’s Department of Economics, and Senior Lecturer Sarah Fisher Ellison explaining how technology has made it easier to find products, but retailers have retaliated by raising prices. “To the extent that there is more obfuscation going on, consumers pay more for everything,” said Ellison. Wakabayashi also spotlights a study by Prof. Amy Finkelstein that found “when people use cash less, prices go up.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Kristin J. Forbes has found that "those parts of the consumer-price index influenced by global factors, such as commodity prices, currency fluctuations and global value chains, drove half the changes in the index between 2015 and 2017, up from about 25% in the early 1990s," reports Yuka Hayashi for The Wall Street Journal.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Janelle Nanos spotlight Spoiler Alert, an MIT startup that works with major food brands to save food that might have gone to waste. “One of our core beliefs is that waste is no longer a necessary or acceptable cost of doing business,” said Spoiler Alert cofounder and chief product officer Emily Malina MBA ’13. “Everything we do is geared towards moving perishable inventory faster to benefit brands, retailers, consumers, and the planet.”


Politco reporter Catherine Boudreau explores a study by researchers from MIT’s Real Estate Innovation Lab offers suggestions on how people can reduce their carbon footprints when shopping. “My biggest takeaway is to be a more mindful consumer. Try not to get in the car to go shop. If you do, make it a big shopping trip to avoid multiple trips. Walking and biking always wins,” explains research scientist Andrea Chegut. 


A study by MIT researchers examines how large retailers often slot items into certain price points, reports The Economist. The researchers found that retailers, “seem to design products to fit their preferred price points. Given a big enough shift in market conditions, such as an increase in labor costs, firms often redesign a product to fit the price rather than tweak the price.”


Writing for Forbes, Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, explores how services such as meal kits and delivery apps appeal to younger and older consumers. “Innovations developed to respond to the demands of what, on the surface, appears to be distinctly younger lifestyles may, in fact, be both a market opportunity for business and an emerging critical resource to support older consumers,” writes Coughlin.


Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, writes for Barron’s about how senior citizens are becoming an increasingly dominant consumer market. “Older consumers will no longer put up with companies that address only basic physiological or safety needs,” writes Coughlin. “New demands in the older market are arising from higher-level drives, such as goals, aspirations, aesthetic preferences, social needs, and talents.”

The Wall Street Journal

Spun out of Sloan’s Billion Prices Project, PriceStats tracks millions of items sold online and produces a daily measure of U.S. consumer prices, allowing investors to track inflation faster.“By producing a daily index of prices…it has a considerable jump on figures that government entities calculate monthly,” writes Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal.


Pamela Danziger of Forbes highlights research by Visiting Prof. Rogelio Oliva in an article about recent declines in retail staff and the resulting drop in retail sales. Retailers “could generate more sales if they staff at the correct level. Stores should staff to maximize sales and profits, not to minimize costs,” explains Oliva. 

Fortune- CNN

In an article for Fortune, Senior Lecturer Sharmila C. Chatterjee writes that brick-and-mortar stores can compete with online retailers by focusing on designing an attractive shopping experience for customers. “By focusing on their core competencies—one-on-one, human-to-human customer service, sensory-stimulating in-store experiences, and promise of instant gratification—traditional stores have an opportunity to excel where websites falter.”

USA Today

Joe Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, has a new book called The Longevity Economy, which examines how companies can better serve older consumers, writes Robert Powell for USA Today. “A new generation of older adults is beginning to demand far more out of later life than ever before: not just passive consumerism, but the active pursuit of meaning,” says Coughlin.


Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, writes for Forbes that older female consumers are powerful, yet products geared toward them are poorly marketed. “The insights that occur to this particular consumer group are powerful enough to raze major companies to the ground — and raise new ones out of the rubble,” writes Coughlin.


Writing for HuffPost, Prof. Georgia Perakis explains that it is possible to detect customer trends without using data gathered via social media. By using data like store locations, customer demographics, and timing of purchases, “we can still understand the influence of certain individuals and groups,” Perakis explains. 

Boston Globe

Researchers involved in the MIT Bitcoin Project have found that students prefer cash and credit cards as their primary forms of payment, writes Deirdre Fernandes for The Boston Globe. While Bitcoin hasn’t caught on, the project has allowed researchers to collect data on how consumers adopt and use new technology, and to examine the technology underlying Bitcoin.