Only Suckers Don’t Buy Generic


The more informed you are, the more likely you are to choose store brands. Pharmacists, for example, are especially likely to buy store brands of headache medicines. Chefs are far less inclined to select national brands of salt and sugar than are nonchefs who are otherwise demographically identical. In other words, national brands are succeeding largely because of consumer ignorance.

You can count me among the nonchef idiots who pay three times more for brand-name pain relievers et alia instead of CVS-brand something-or-other. This BloombergView piece has almost convinced me to shake off my leftover childhood class anxiety and stop doing things like buy the most expensive pregnancy test because that probably means it’s the best.

The study was huge, as per my bloggerly estimation, using purchase data on more than 77 million shopping trips to compare shopping choices to consumer’s profession and backgrounds.

Also, yow:

If all consumers were better-informed, then, consumer markets would look very different. Total expenditures on headache remedies, for instance, would fall 13 percent, and retailer profits would rise 5 percent as people bought more in-house brands. And if people bought store brands whenever they could, they’d save as much as $44 billion.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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