Bargain vs. quality: When are people willing to spend more? (Hint: condoms)

If cash is king, then who gets to don the biggest and best crown? Quality or bargain buys? According to a recent online survey by Avya Skincare, the “average consumer” (defined by 2,000 people polled across the nation in May 2018) cared most about quality when it came to […]

According to a recent online survey by Avya Skincare, the “average consumer” (defined by 2,000 people polled across the nation in May 2018) cared most about quality when it came to condoms, car repairs, education and professional services that focus on finances and health.

That same population cared more about finding a bargain when it pertains to clothing, electronics like smartphones, and toilet paper. Data also revealed that consumers cared least about quality when shopping for beauty products like makeup, and salon services like manicures, pedicures and hair coloring, as well as alcohol. And some categories straddle the quality vs. bargain fence: Folks demand the highest quality, but at a discount for such things as real estate, dining out and meat.

After learning about the list, Bolingbrook, Ill., resident Stephanie Stewart, 53, agreed with some of the consumer opinions — not skimping on car-related expenses — but she says she looks for quality when it comes to small (ear swabs, makeup and beer) and big ticket items like furniture.

“Quality means a lot of different things to people. I’ll pay an extra $25 per tire, but it’s based on longevity and the fact that it doesn’t get a lot of flats — in that way, quality means the wearability of the tire, it has nothing to do with the brand name,” she said. “We (my husband and I) have no brand loyalty. Most of what we buy has to do with our experience with the product or the person who sells it.”

Coupons.com savings expert Jeanette Pavini understands the logic behind such shopping habits.

“A brand name doesn’t always mean it’s the best product,” Pavini said referring to the idea of second labels — products made under a name brand that also sell the same product under a second, less expensive label. “I think it’s fine if you have a designer or a product you feel is exceptional quality and buy it. But, it’s also good to have an open mind to other products that don’t have the name recognition but have the goods,” she said.