"As incomes go up, Americans spend a greater proportion on intangibles and relatively less on goods. One result is more new jobs in hotels, health clubs and hospitals, and fewer in factories.
"In 1959, Americans spent about 40 percent of their incomes on services, compared with 58 percent in 2000. That figure understates the trend, because in many cases goods and services come bundled together."
The service sector is growing, because consumers are outsourcing some activities (such as meal preparation and cleanup). At the same time, businesses are outsourcing other tasks to their customers.
It is interesting to note that in heavily regulated industries, such as medicine, little outsourcing takes place. Thus, if one of our children has what appears to be strep throat, we cannot self-diagnose and self-prescribe. Meanwhile, I would not hold my breath waiting for a health insurance company to compete for business based on offering consumers a "good experience" dealing with their rules and forms.