ASTEROP Inc., a leader in business intelligence and predictive analytics, announced the release of its newest business intelligence dataset, including analysis of consumer spending trends. ASTEROP’s new data, based on an innovative modeling approach, shows how consumer-facing U.S. businesses of all sizes have viable expansion opportunities despite a slow economy. It also shows some surprising consumer consumption trends across the country–including an increase in consumption of alcoholic beverages at 18 percent across the U.S. and an increase in fresh fruit and vegetable consumption at 10 percent across the U.S. At the same time, while categories such as books and new motorcycles saw a 7 and 21 percent decline in demand, respectively, ASTEROP has identified several categories and major metropolitan areas that are offering businesses tremendous opportunities.

“Our dataset provides a very unique look at the American consumer. We are revealing a new landscape where localized demand contradicts conventional wisdom on consumer spending in recession-like periods,” says Christophe Girardier, ASTEROP’s CEO. “Sources such as the U.S. Census provide a reliable source for macroeconomic trends. However, local consumption trends aren’t necessarily determined by national consumption trends. ASTEROP uses advanced data modeling approaches to generate the granular information and identify unknown trends that consumer-facing businesses need to tailor their strategies to local markets. This information is critical to retailers, real estate brokers/developers, marketers, and many other businesses that need to understand the true demand in each category and identify new opportunities in a recessionary economy.”

Given the rapid changes in the U.S. economy, current information is required to accurately pinpoint the right store concept to the right location and to plan store closure/renovation plans, marketing programs, and other merchandising and product mix strategies. While the subprime mortgage crisis and continuing rise in oil prices have placed pressure on the national economy, there are specific metropolitan areas where the population is not feeling the pinch.

Where in the U.S. do these opportunities exist? What particular consumer consumption categories show untapped potential? The full ASTEROP dataset explores approximately 700 categories across the United U.S. each year. In this release, ASTEROP data shows that several major metropolitan areas still have a lot of “buzz”. This is demonstrated by the substantial potential for the sale of alcoholic beverages and wine in a surprising array of locations. ASTEROP has pinpointed the metropolitan areas that currently consume the most alcoholic beverages as:

1. Washington/Arlington/Alexandria, D.C.-Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia

2. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, California

3. New York/Northern New Jersey/Long Island, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania

4. Boston/Cambridge/Quincy, Massachusetts-New Hampshire

5. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana, California

This “buzz” continues with Americans’ love for coffee shops. ASTEROP’s new findings show that even as Americans tighten their budgets in some markets, there are many others where they remain committed to purchasing caffeinated beverages and morning breakfast pastries from their favorite coffee shops. However, the most “caffeinated” metropolitan areas might not be where expected. Coffee shops looking for fertile ground should consider:

1. Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura, California

2. Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, California

3. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, California

4. Anchorage, Alaska

5. Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut

What does this mean for other food-related categories? In a challenging economy, many consumers aim to reduce grocery costs by purchasing lower-priced canned items in lieu of fresh produce. However, contrary to that trend, the increased interest in healthy eating and natural products has led to an opportunity in the following metropolitan areas to market fresh fruits and vegetables. These areas are the top for consumption of fresh produce:

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

2. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, California

3. Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura, California

4. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana, California

5. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, California

Fruits and vegetables are not the only “green” market opportunities. ASTEROP’s new dataset was also able to define the metropolitan areas that represent the largest markets for lawn/garden/plant purchases. While it may seem as if consumers are cutting back on outdoor home improvements, the consumers living in the areas below know that the grass is always greener in their own back yards and have spent a great deal of money to make them that way. These areas have the nicest lawns in gardens in the U.S. based on expenditures in the category:

1. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, California

2. Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut

3. Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura, California

4. Washington/Arlington/Alexandria D.C.

5. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, California

These sample categories rank market potential by Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA), but ASTEROP can also provide market potential rankings for trade areas around shopping centers.

The complete ASTEROP dataset is available through ASTEROP’s On-Demand Solutions located at, or through an annual subscription to ASTEROP Online, and gives current year and five-year projections for U.S. demographics and consumer demand at the Census block group and ZIP code levels.