What are they? The monthly recurring charges that support our digital lifestyles. Most of them didn't exist a decade ago. Just think about it: There are the monthly cell phone data plans , for every member of the household. (Yes, even the grade schoolers. And, maybe even Grandma & Grandpa.) Then, the monthly cable or satellite TV charges. Plus, the monthly charges for high speed internet access in your home. Of course, there are the monthly charges for 'streaming' online entertainment services, such as Netflix, Amazon, now Wal-Mart, and others. And, monthly online access to newspapers, magazines, etcetera We call these kinds of monthly expenses 'the enablers' of our essential digital lifestyles. They also are ' creepers '; they tend to just keep rising. And for retailers, each one represents a major 'stealth competitor!' For many households, these monthly charges can add up to hundreds of dollars! And today, essentially no one can avoid them; they are treated like another 'utility' charge. Is it any wonder consumers feel like they have less 'spending money?' (And they are right!) Erosion of 'Retail Spending' All of this connectivity comes at a cost to retailers. Money that is being dedicated to these monthly enabling charges is not available to be spent 'at retail.' Traditional 'disposable income' is significantly eroded. And that happens every month, essentially out of sight. And to almost every household. What does this mean for retailers? 'Know your competition' is more complex – and more important – than ever. Every retailer is affected!