Is Brand Name Losing Its Cool?
That brand names cost more than own-brand or budget ranges is not news to anyone. That this discrepancy can sometimes be quite marked is no more of a shock to anyone who is paying attention. And yet there still seems to be a thirst for the big names among shoppers. However it seems that in the new world which has been born out of the global financial crisis, the numbers of people voting with their wallets and choosing the cheaper option are increasing. Are we finally coming to terms with the idea that all those brand names amount to very little in terms of tangible quality? Or are people simply deciding to tighten their belts temporarily?
Go to any supermarket today and you will see that people are spending longer in the aisles looking for the extra few cents’ saving than ever before. These same people two years ago may well have instantly picked up the recognisable brand name and dropped it in their trolley without so much as looking. What is going on? Obviously we are in a recession, but this time it feels very different. Almost without noticing, we have suddenly become thrifty. It seems strange to say it, but it has almost become cool to be careful.
It must be said that there are some cases where compromising on quality for the sake of price is less well-advised than in others. We can all think of a few ourselves, but suffice it to say that thrifty shopping can become a false economy when we buy the cheapest line possible and end up throwing it out because it was inedible or made us need to go to the bathroom non-stop for a day. Such a strategy is almost doomed to fail and can sour a person on the whole concept of economising. However, there are cases where dropping from top-of-the-range to mid-range constitutes very little difference.
It is no myth that in blind taste tests we will often see a mid-price item out-performing its more illustrious rivals. Perhaps more often the big name will win out, but this is to be expected. After all, reputations are built over time. The better ingredients cost more, and in cases where the mid price item is more or less copied from the bigger name, they can never get it absolutely right. As a result, the consumer will often pay for the name.
If, however, you are making a concerted effort to leave aside the added expense of buying brand names all the time, it cannot have escaped your attention that sometimes the supposed “lesser brands” can be a bargain. Sometimes too, there is so little difference between the big brand and the little one in terms of taste that it is only social conditioning making us buy the big names. It may not be for everyone, but next time you are at the supermarket throwing in the brands you have always bought, why not go downmarket? You might find that sometimes the bargain buys are very much to your taste.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 25, 2009.
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