Americans Less Willing to Pay Extra for Quality

Is “quality” in consumer goods a trait that Americans are finding less attractive? Recent data from Simmons DataStream leads us to believe so.

Over the past two and a half years, there has been an 11% decrease in the percent of U.S. consumers who think that it is worth paying extra for quality goods and a nine percent decrease in the percent of consumers who say they enjoy owning  quality things.

It is true that on average more than half of Americans still agree that quality is worth paying extra for, which remains a significant percentage of the total population. However the overall decrease in quality-focused consumers is worrisome as it concentrated mostly during the first half of 2010. Specifically, Simmons DataStream shows that on February 22, 2010, 61% of adult consumers believed that it is worth paying extra for quality goods and by August 9, 2010 that number had fallen to 55%, a relative decline of 10% in less than 6 months.

This might illustrate a lag effect of the prolonged recession and the onset of a trend that could mean that consumers are willing to make do with less in order to ride out the wave of economic anxiety.