Americans need stuff--we just need it. If you need proof, just look at the way we went out and spent last weekend despite months of apocalyptic news about the economy. But a recent story in Newsweek seems to suggest we're willing to look for new ways to get our stuff.
Last year, for the first time in almost 50 years, no new indoor malls were built in the U.S. Not one. But obviously it's not that we've stopped buying things. It's just that more and more people are becoming smart shoppers instead of free-spending consumers.
The story goes on to outline the trend toward resale and talks about how people are increasingly more willing to pay more for products that are environmentally conscious. It also shines a light on internet groups where people barter for the things they want or flat-out agree to buy less.
The whole thing should be a giant lightbulb for entrepreneurs. Out with the old, in with the new. People in this country will never stop buying things, but they will certainly look for new things to buy and new ways to buy them. And innovative small-business owners should be the ones to help them do it.