A Consumer Economy

Nicole Gaethke


Through the decade of the 1920s, there was an increase in available conveniences. Products were created that allowed more free time for people and cut back on time spent on household chores. During this time, products became more affordable and new forms of financing were developed. Advertisement also became more popular and helped to sell more goods and products.

Changing Housework

During this time household work appeared to become revolutionized. New inventions were created that made a person's job easier. For example, vacuum cleaners replaced the traditional carpet beater. Some other inventions include electric refrigerators, washing machines, and irons. New methods of canning and freezing were developed. Overall, many hours were saved in household chores.

Buying on Credit

"Buy Now, Pay Later", was essentially the slogan of the decade by the creation of credit. Various people found themselves wanting the lasted conveniences but were unable to afford them all at once. Because of this issue, department stores established lines of credit. Installment plans were also initiated. The installment plans allowed consumers to pay for their product over a series of 12 separate payments. Consumer debt doubled due to credit availability and use.

The graph below shows the labor force growth and unemployment rates from 1920 to 1930.


Manufacturers used advertising as a way to be more aggressive as the decade proved to be a time of a highly competitive marketplace. The advertisements that were produced would convince Americans that they NEEDED the product and used forms of propaganda ensuring they must have it even when in reality, they didn't. Advertisers created a large amount of demand. Movie stars often endorsed products to gain American's attention. Another way of advertising included commercials over the radio.

Work Cited

"Google Images." Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2013. <http://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en>.

"46f. A Consumer Economy." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 13 May 2013. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/46f.asp>.