Consumers Save with Generic Brands

July 22, 2010

Two-thirds of US consumers have bought more generic brands in the past six months to save money, according to the findings of a new Harris Poll.

Recession Makes Generic Popular
Purchasing more generic brands was by far the most popular money-saving response to the ongoing recession in the past six months, with 65% of consumers saying they have done this. Another 13% have considered doing so.

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Consumers Prepare More Food for Themselves
In addition to purchasing more generic brands, many consumers are also preparing more food at home, as well as taking steps to reduce beverage purchases. Almost half of consumers (48%) have tried to save money by brown-bagging lunch to work in the past six months, 7% considering it.

To reduce beverage expenses, 39% of consumers have switched to refillable water bottles instead of purchasing bottles of water, with 9% considering this step. Another 22% have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning, with 4% considering doing so.

Less Media Being Consumed
Looking at media habits, three in ten U.S. adults (31%) have cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions and just under one in five (17%) have cancelled a newspaper subscription in the past six months. Another 4% have considered canceling a magazine subscription and 10% have considered canceling the paper.

It’s not just reading habits that are changing in these economic times, though. One in five Americans (22%) have cancelled or cut back cable television service, while an additional 22% say they have considered doing so.

Phone Service Changes
Phone service has also changed, as 15% of consumers have cancelled their landline service and are only using cell phones, with an additional 22% saying they have considered this to save money.

Cell phone usage is also changing, as 15% say they have changed or cancelled cell service to save money, with an additional 17% of Americans saying they have considered doing so.

Personal Grooming Takes a Hit
Some consumers have also cut back on personal grooming expenses in the past six months. Thirty-eight percent of Americans have cut back on trips to the barber/stylist/hairdresser, with 7% considering doing so. And 24% have cut down on dry cleaning, with 3% considering doing so.

Economic Improvements Seen, Actions Taken
Forty-four percent of Americans think the economy is improving, according to another recent survey from Perk Street Financial and Harris Interactive. However, this has not stopped a large majority of Americans (83%) from taking action relating to the recession. These include:

  • 61% have cut back on entertainment expenses such as dining out and travel.
  • 57% have made changes in overall spending habits.
  • 41% are spending more time shopping for the best deals.
  • 40% are using more coupons.
  • 20% are cutting back on essentials like food and medication.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 14-21, 2010 among 2,227 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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