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Poll finds that 29% of women will switch pet food to save, 68% willing to change OTC meds

Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008

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When Purchasing Appliances, Reliability Is Most Important; ShopSmart Shares How To Avoid Costly Repairs


Yonkers, NY – According to a new poll featured in the November 2008 issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, women are willing to switch brands of over-the-counter medications (68%), milk (67%) and eggs (67%) to save money, but only 29 percent say they would change their brand of pet food. Women are also reluctant to switch cosmetics (30%), personal-care items (48%) and toilet paper (49%).

The poll also found that when it comes to shopping for new appliances, 27 percent of women say that reliability is the most important consideration while the brand falls well behind the other factors in determining which appliance to purchase at four percent. However, women are not willing to sacrifice brand name to save money on appliances as only 38 percent of women said they would purchase a lesser known brand to save money.

Conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, the brand loyalty poll is part of ShopSmart's feature on the best and worst brands, which includes a guide to which types of products are most likely to need repairs, information about whether an appliance is worth repair or should be replaced instead and tips to maintain appliances to avoid costly repairs.

“We were surprised to find that women are so readily willing to switch medications,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “However, I am happy to see that women value reliability over brand when it comes to large purchases such as appliances. Our guide will help you avoid costly repairs by showing you how to pick the most reliable brands.”

Brand Loyalty Now and Then

  • Now, more than last year, 29% of respondents say that they’re buying more generic or store brands; in households with kids the number is 37%.
  • Say thanks to mom as 48% of women who almost always buy the same brand of groceries or canned goods say that their brand loyalty has been influenced by what they grew up with.
Who Makes The Call?
  • 81% of married women say that they alone decide what toilet paper and other personal-care items to buy for the household.
  • 77% say they alone decide what groceries and canned goods to buy.
  • 63% say that when it comes to major appliances like fridges and ovens, they decide what brand to buy or make a joint decision with their spouse or significant other.
Extend the Life of Your Appliances

ShopSmart shares its guide to figuring out how to extend the life of home appliances and avoid costly repairs.


  • Refrigerator: Vacuum the dust off the coils every few months. Check the door seals for leaks and moisture. If any are found, replacing a door gasket is a do-it-yourself job.
  • Over-the-Range Microwave Ovens: Don’t turn it on when it is empty as this could create leaks in the seals.
  • Dishwashers: Be sure silverware isn’t in the path of the spray arms; it can damage them. Check the filter beneath the lower basket to make sure it’s clear of debris.
  • Clothes Washers: At least once a year, remove grit from the screens where the hoses attach to the pipes that supply the water. On conventional top-loading machines, also remove the agitator and wipe away any soap residue.
  • TV’s: Avoid using glass cleaners, especially ammonia-based ones, which can damage an LCD or plasma screen. A soft, dry cloth should do the trick. If not, moisten the cloth slightly with water.
  • Computers: If you’re using a laptop, try to work on a hard, flat surface, not a cushy one like a bed or carpet, which can block airflow and cause overheating.
ShopSmart Brand Loyalty Poll Methodology
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 1,006 interviews were completed among women aged 18+. Interviewing took place over June 26-29, 2008. The margin of error is +/- 3.2% points at a 95% confidence level.

About ShopSmart Magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and over a half a million copies of each issue are available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Target, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.

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Poll finds that 29% of women will switch pet food to save, 68% willing to change OTC meds
Only 29 percent of women surveyed say they would change their brand of pet food.

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