This section requires that you compare the total population to the population of the type of product users and to the population of the users of your brand. You must understand your product or service well enough to decide if the product/service is used by households or by individuals. Demographic information for most durable goods and financial services make more sense to have by households (example: washing machines).
This section requires that, as non-economists, you will rely on the articles written by economists for the newspapers. Each month the US Government releases many economic indicators. This assignment specifically needs the CPI (Consumer Price Index), Consumer Confidence, credit card usage (Consumer Installment Credit), and Savings rate. The Federal Reserve changes in interest rate do have an important impact on consumer loans, but also has a significant impact on the availability of credit for the company.
For your 5 year trend of these indicators, use the analysis in the January issues of the newspapers for the last 5 years plus the monthly analysis for every month since January. These articles are not indexed very well, so by relying on the approximate release date (there is a 5 day window of earliest & latest release dates) for each economic indicator, browse the first page of the Wall Street Journal for those dates for every January and the other months.
To see tables of the statistics without much commentary:
* BEST SOURCES:
o Economic Indicators
Census Economic Indicators
o PollingReport.com -- Economic Outlook and page 2
o USA.gov statistics (gateway to federal statistics)
o Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2013-
not this year's data, data always 1-2 years behind current year.
o Economic Outlook in Standard & Poor's Netadvantage
o Fedstats (gateway to federal statistics)
When considering economics, think about your product and its "essentialness". Land line telephones were once essential as were radios and broadcast TV antenna. Would your product survive the next economic downturn? How well did your product do in the last downturn? Is your product counter cyclic -- does well in downturns (the vices do)?