I thought it might be fun, or maybe instructive, to look at what is selling well on Amazon. The web site updates the lists every hour of every day, so what you would see today will be different from what I uncovered on a Wednesday morning in mid July. I am not sure what to conclude from what I found.
Here are some selected categories and the results of the top 20 sellers in each:
1) In the app store for Android. all but one of the best sellers are games. This was before the Pokemon Go craze but time-killing games totally dominate. Does this say something about smartphone use, how we spend free moments, or our need for distraction?
2) In the books and comics category all but one are comics or kids' books. The lone exception is the NIV Bible. It has been awhile since I have visited a bookstore, but I wonder if the comic and graphic novel section reflects this interest.
3) In computers and accessories, all the top sellers are Kindles and Amazon's Echo. No laptops, desk computers, WiFi routers, or monitors are to be found in the top 20.
4) In the cameras and photo category four of the top 20 sellers are drones equipped with cameras. That is scary.
5) In toys and games the top three are card games about kittens..exploding, imploding, and one that is so explicit it comes with a warning. Obviously, this is the latest fad that I have missed. The sixth best selling game is called "Cards against Humanity, a game for horrible people." Exploding kittens and a game for horrible human beings....does that say anything about where we are as a culture today?
6) And, the best seller in the home improvement category is a blue nightlight that lights up inside of your toilet when you raise the lid. Really?
I don't know how much I should conclude from this exercise. Apparently, a lot of folks have enough spare cash, or room on a credit card, to make whimsical or downright silly purchases. With more than half of Americans saying they would be unable to scrape together $1,000 for an emergency, high selling card games about deadly kittens and lighted toilet bowls indicates priority setting may be a bit off.
Maybe these purchases indicate an attempt to escape the steady drumbeat of bad news and political foolishness. For a nominal amount of money, retreating into a mindless game, reading a comic book, or flying a drone over someone's backyard could be a coping mechanism.
I will let others more qualified than me draw weighty conclusions from this sampling of our buying habits. But, I do look forward to your comments!