Harris Poll: Consumers still cutting back

Despite what some see as gradual improvements in the U.S. economy, consumers say they are still cutting back on purchases, including early morning coffee and dining out, a new Harris Poll survey shows.

The nationwide survey, conducted last month and published Wednesday, found that 48 percent of the 2,227 adult respondents said they are brown-bagging lunch instead of purchasing a meal, compared with 45 percent of respondents who responded that was in February.

Two in five adults, or 39 percent of those polled, said they were using refillable water bottles instead of purchasing bottled water, compared with 34 percent who responded that way in February.

Morning beverage purchases also took a hit, as one in five respondents, or 22 percent, said they have stopped buying their early morning coffee in order to save money.

“Americans are doing whatever it takes to cut back on spending,” Harris Poll spokeswoman Regina Corso said in a statement. “What happens in the future with these small changes will be interesting to watch. It could be that once these numbers start going in the other direction, the economy has turned the corner. Or, as some economists are saying, the culture of saving and cutting back will remain after the economic recovery.”

Spending/savings over past six months

 

 

Brown-bagging lunch vs. purchase

Percent

Gen.X (34-45 yrs.)

57%

Echo Boomers (18-33 yrs.)

54

Baby Boomers (46-64 yrs.)

53

Matures (65+ yrs.)

19

Total

48%

 

 

Switching to refillable water vs. buying bottled water

 

Percent

Echo Boomers 43%

43%

Gen.X 40%

40

Matures 39%

39

Baby Boomers 36%

36

Total 39%

39%

 

 

 

 

Stopped morning coffee purchases

Percent

Echo Boomers

25%

Gen.X

22

Baby Boomers

22

Matures

16

Total

22%

 

 

Source: Harris Poll Interactive

 

 

Watch the Harris Poll video.

 

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected]