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The New Economy

Consumers cutting back by buying generics

Generics are rising in popularity with cash-strapped Americans.

By Brian Anthony HernandezBusinessNewsDaily staff writer / November 12, 2010

Shrink-wrapped wedges of generic cheddar cheese are shown in a supermarket refrigerator case in 2006. Now, generics are catching on as consumers try to pare back spending.

Richard B. Levine/Newscom/File

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Americans are doing with a lot less these days and restaurant lunches, trips to the salon and magazine subscriptions are on the top of the chopping block. Buying generic products has also gained in popularity.

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During the past six months, 62 percent of shoppers said they've been steering clear of name-brand items and snagging cheaper alternatives, according to market-research firm Harris Interactive, which surveyed more than 3,000 people in mid-October.

It’s just one way Americans are trying to save money. Others cutbacks by Americans of all ages include:

  • Packing a lunch: 45 percent
  • Going to hairstylists or barbers less often: 37 percent
  • Using refillable water bottles: 37 percent
  • Canceling magazine subscriptions: 27 percent
  • Stopping cable TV service: 22 percent
  • Cutting back on dry cleaning: 21 percent
  • Axing newspaper subscriptions: 17 percent
  • Ending cell phone service: 17 percent
  • Carpooling: 14 percent

Perhaps as telling as any stat: Some 22 percent of respondents said they are avoiding buying a morning cup of coffee.

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