Statistics, the Economy and Coffee

A new survey about cutbacks consumers were making to deal with the economy was just released. Seth Fiegerman reported on a list of items ranked by percentages of importance. Coffee cuts are in the middle area of the list, scoring above newspaper cancellations, phone cutbacks, and switching from driving to mass transit. Americans are most likely to switch to generic drugs, cut down on hairdressers and barbers, pack their own lunches, fill their own water bottles, cancel a magazine subscription, cut back on dry cleaning and cancel cable subscriptions. Coffee was next in line, as one in five indicated they’ve cut out their morning coffee purchase. Put another way, Americans would rather cut out their morning coffee purchase than cut out their newspaper or trim down phone use or switch to mass transit, but they’d rather give up other conveniences and even cable! The survey didn’t specify whether or not the coffee purchase was for regular coffee or a specialty coffee drink. Regardless, in the last two years, the one in five statistic has remained stable with this particular survey, indicating that those who need that morning coffee purchase are still holding onto it. Another survey on which we reported only a month ago ( ) showed that one in six would NOT give up their daily coffee purchase. This contradicts the new survey as it indicates that four out of five have NOT given up that coffee drink. So, we’re left with a little confusion as to how important that morning coffee purchase is. For one thing, statistics can be misleading, depending on how the questions were asked and how the answers were interpreted. This survey didn’t indicate whether those who gave up the coffee purchase were making their own instead. Since the least percentage of people have given up driving, it stands to reason they could also be making their own espresso and other coffee drinks at home. In this case, they’re not giving up coffee, just convenience. Besides, at what drive thru can you get such superb coffees as those shown below?

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