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Sample Response to GMAT AWA Argument Questions

9. The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine. “On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer.” Discuss how well reasoned . . . Etc.

The speaker concluded that department stores should replace some of their products intended to attract the younger consumer with those intended to attract the middle-aged consumer. The argument is based on the following two facts: 1) the middle-age consumers devote more percent of their retail expenditure to department store than do younger consumers; and 2) the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically in the next decade. The above argument omits some paramount items that must be involved in the reasoning process; therefore, it does not constitute a logical argument in favor of the conclusion and it certainly is not persuasive and sound.

First, it is questionable that middle-aged consumers will increase greatly within the next decade. According to the above argument, one can not get the conclusion that the middle-aged consumers will increase during the next decade. The population of the present young people should be presented. If now the number of younger people surpasses the number of middle-aged people greatly, then one can get the above conclusion. If not, the conclusion is wrong. The above article gives its reader the impression that middle-aged customers will increase just because the young people will become middle-aged patronages in ten years. So, it is illogical.

Second, the author assumes that the average expenditure to department store products and service of middle-aged customers is greater than those of young ones. In fact, young people usually spend more money than older ones. So, if the author wants to convince others that the opposite is right, he must present related information or data collected in some surveys.

In summary, the article leaves out the paramount issues mentioned above. Hence it is not thorough or convincing. If it had included persuasive information that could eliminate its readers' doubts, it would have been more sound and compelling.


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