Cutting Back and Going Generic

The results of a recent The Harris Poll of 3,084 adults surveyed online found that over the past six months, 62% of U.S. adults have purchased more generic brands and 45% are brown-bagging lunch instead of purchasing it. In June, similar numbers of Americans said they were buying generic, and brown-bagging it. A number of Americans have cut back in other small ways to save money, says the report.

Spending/Savings Over Past Six Months To Save Money (All U.S. adults)

 

Have Done

Have Considered

Have Not Done Nor Considered

Not Applicable

Purchasing more generic brands

62%

12%

17%

9%

Brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it

45

9

13

32

Going to the hairdresser/barber/stylist less often

37

8

30

25

Switched to refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottle of water

37

10

22

31

Cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions

27

8

23

41

Cancelled or cut back cable television service

22

21

40

17

Stopped purchasing coffee in the morning

22

7

19

53

Cut down on dry cleaning

21

5

16

57

Changed or cancelled cell phone service

17

16

50

17

Cancelled landline phone service and only using cell phone

17

21

40

21

Cancelled a newspaper subscription

17

11

27

44

Begun carpooling or using mass transit

14

9

31

45

Source: The Harris Poll, October 2010

Other findings of this Harris Poll include:

  • 37% of Americans are going to the hairstylist or barber less often, and 37% have switched to refillable water bottles instead of purchasing bottles of water
  • 27% of adults have cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions while 17% have cancelled a newspaper subscription. In addition, 11% of  Americans have considered cancelling a newspaper subscription or a magazine subscription
  • 22% of Americans have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning and 21% have cut down on dry cleaning. 14% have begun carpooling or using mass transit
  • 22% of U.S. adults have cancelled or cut back on cable television service, and 17% have changed or cancelled cell phone service or cancelled their landline service and are only using their cell phone

Trend Of Spending/Savings Over Past Six Months (Percent Of All U.S. Adults Saying "Have Done")

Spend/Save

Jun 2009

Oct 2009

Feb 2010

Jun 2010

Oct 2010

Purchasing more generic brands

62%

64%

63%

65%

62%

Brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it

47

47

45

48

45

Going to the hairdresser/barber/stylist less often

36

43

39

38

37

Switched to refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottle of water

33

36

34

39

37

Cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions

29

34

33

31

27

Cancelled or cut back cable television service

19

21

22

22

22

Stopped purchasing coffee in the morning

15

20

21

22

22

Cut down on dry cleaning

20

22

22

24

21

Changed or cancelled cell phone service

14

15

17

15

17

Cancelled landline phone service and only using cell phone

11

12

15

15

17

Cancelled a newspaper subscription

17

21

19

17

17

Begun carpooling or using mass transit

13

14

14

12

14

Source: The Harris Poll, October 2010

By generation, Gen Xers (those 34-45) are most likely to:

  • Purchase generic brands (70%)
  • Brown bag their lunch (62%)
  • Go to the hair dresser less often (45%)
  • Have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning (35%)

Of Echo Boomers (those 18-33):

  • 18% are much less likely to have cancelled a magazine subscription compared to at least 30% of all the other generations who say they have done this
  • 22% are more likely to have cancelled their landline phone service

Generational Spending/Savings Over Past Six Months (Percent of All U.S. adults saying "Have done")

 

Generation

Spend/Save

Total

Echo Boomers (18-33)

Gen X (34-45)

Baby Boomers (46-64)

Matures (65+)

Purchasing more generic brands

62%

57%

70%

62%

59%

Brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it

45

46

62

50

14

Going to the hairdresser/barber/stylist less often

37

35

45

39

27

Switched to refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottle of water

37

36

44

36

31

Cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions

27

18

30

31

33

Cancelled or cut back cable television service

22

22

28

23

13

Stopped purchasing coffee in the morning

22

19

35

20

12

Cut down on dry cleaning

21

15

23

26

19

Changed or cancelled cell phone service

17

16

21

19

10

Cancelled landline phone service and only using cell phone

17

22

22

15

6

Cancelled a newspaper subscription

17

13

22

19

12

Begun carpooling or using mass transit

14

18

20

12

5

Source: The Harris Poll, October 2010

The report asks if this has become a true behavior change, or do they come back and buy that latte in the morning again when the economy turns around?

For additional information, please visit Harris Interactive here.

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1 comment about "Cutting Back and Going Generic".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , November 26, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.

    In answer to your question, Not if you have retired and stopped working.