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Should you buy branded items only? (the branded vs. unbranded debate)

  1. #1
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
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    Dec 2007

    Default Should you buy branded items only? (the branded vs. unbranded debate)

    People often talk about "branded items" claiming that branded items are always better than unbranded items. And 95% of the times they are right. After all known brands have a reputation to keep - usually. The main drawback of buying a branded item is usually the price. Brand companies often claim that they set high levels of quality checks, rigorous screening methods at each stage of manufacturing, pay higher wages to employees, have many overheads, have to spend on advertising, after sales service network, etc. Taken in that perspective, it seems only fair about the pricing.

    Or is it? We as consumers are paying after all. Should I pay LG 10% extra because they sponsored the Cricket World Cup and spent billions in advertising? Is it worth paying Rs. 2,500 for a Linksys wireless router when others in the same category are available for nearly a 1,000 less? Should I buy Honda instead of a Hyundai? Unfortunately, there is not a clear one-for-all answer. The situation is very case dependent and one must make a judgment call in each case.

    These are well known brands. But are we paying simply for the advertising and hype?

    Having analysed many such situations, I have come to the conclusion that one factor stands out digitally in all such cases – the longevity of the ownership.

    Take for instance the case when you are in the market for buying a white-good consumer durable such as refrigerator, TV, washing machine, etc. In these cases, you are not going to purchase such items every year. Trouble free service, good service network, reliability of product, etc. are of utmost importance. Hence we should opt for branded, or rather a known company, item. But at the same time, some branded items are ridiculously expensive. Do not overpay for style and glamour. We are not in the market to buy a Ferrari, unless you really are.

    On the other hand, there is no need to pay two or three times for a branded item that you are likely to throw away in a year or two. But “use-and-throw” is not the only parameter for buying non-branded items. Sometimes we end up paying for the “hype”.

    Is the branded HDMI cable (on left) better than the unbranded cable (on right)? You will be surprised with the answer.

    A typical case is of AV cables. If you walk in a shop and buy an AV item, most likely you will need an AV cable – an HDMI cable for instance. The shop keeper will push at you a cable worth $20 from a known brand saying that it is oxygen-free, gold plated, will carry signals better with no loss/noise, etc. You will fall to this sales pitch and ignore the $5 cable that you picked up earlier. The salesman has played with your paranoia and lack of knowledge. In this specific case, most people will equate 2+2=4 when it is the case of 2+2=20.

    • HDMI is a digital signal which means that it is a YES (1) or NO (1). This simply means that an HDMI cable will either work or not work.
    • Noise and other such disturbances do not affect digital components; unless we are talking of a high intensity EMP.
    • Gold-plating ensures good contact but does not mean that ordinary contacts do not work.
    • A known name/high cost brand is just as likely to go bad.

    Mobile phones handsets is another category where this question may pose a challenge. While it is best to stick to branded models in the top-end features’ range, there is enough scope for you to explore in the lower segments. For the same price, you may get many better features in a lesser known brand (note that I do not say “unbranded”) that the typical known one. A prime example is MicroMax that delivers exception value for money.

    And that has brought us to the keywords – value for money. This is a question you should always ask yourself. Be it dining out or going on a vacation or buying stuff; in fact whenever you are spending.

    So basically how does one decide what is right? Here is a list of my own suggestions:

    • Study the subject and understand the technology. Do not say , “Oh! This is too technical. I do not understand.”, etc. You will amaze yourself.
    • Use the power of the internet to educate yourself.
    • Do not depend too much on user reviews, especially when they provide a very conflicting view such as 50% saying “good” while others saying “bad”.
    • Do not observe the “sheep mentality” and going with the crowd.
    • Try to study the dealer network, support network, etc.
    • Many items require constant preventive maintenance – cars for example. Understand the costs and prices of spares, etc.
    • Avoid impulse purchase.
    • Set a budget, a limit that you will not cross under any circumstances, even by Rs. 100. If you think that you may weaken on this front, take a friend/relative with you who will bring you back to the ground.
    • Note down on a piece of paper (and not just in mind) the pro’s and con’s of the brand/item. Make an unbiased assessment.
    • And as stated before, invoke the “value for money” clause.
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    Last edited by just4kix; 18th March 2012 at 05:22 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Mar 2012


    yes, i buy branded item only .it is better for unbranded item .

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Preeti_20's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Yes of course branded items are better than unbranded, but it is not neccessary that branded items always turn out to be better. When we are talking about gadgets and appliances brand matters alot, but for other things like maybe clothes or shoes then maybe brand does not matter as much.

    Its true that branded items are costly, but there are brands which sell at lower prices too, for example Sony TV's are always costlier than other TVs. But you wil get other brand TV's too a lower cost.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2013


    Tough question I think. Branded is good, but for some branded products the price is very high. For the middle class families its a matter of choosing a good brand and choosing a better product for less money. It sometimes depends on what type of product you are purchasing if its a tv then yes brand is important, if its say a dinner set then maybe its not so important about brands.

  5. #5
    Junior Member gspal's Avatar
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    Jul 2011


    I do research on the net before buying a product. For example, my Sony Ericsson 700i obsolete mobile phone is over 12 years old being now powered by local batteries. I sill stick to it because it has very good quality sound and hardly any maintenance. Its dual alarm will awaken the dead. And it is of solid quality. I had researched the net and followed reviews at the time of purchase. Alas, Sony Ericsson alliance is over. I have yet to come across a budget mobile phone with such sound and build quality. Same goes for my IFB washing machine (7 years old and still running as new), Venus geyser (over 12 years old requiring servicing once in two years), inverter, desktop (assembled with an AMD A4-3400 APU with ASUS motherboard, etc. that I upgrade once in 4 years after following reviews of new components at The Mobile Indian and Techtree, CRT monitor and CRT TV with 4:3 viewing ratio as the colour rendition and graphics are superb with maintenance dirt cheap, but alas they consume more power and power is expensive these days - would need to move to those rectangular LEDs with 16:9 ratio. Aakash tablets from Datawind is trying hard to become a brand, but today I refused their COD offer of Ubislate 7C+ (Edge) for 5k as it would have been a good buy in 2011, but not in 2013 due to their mediocre resolution, poor build, outdated 2G connectivity, and just 512MB RAM. It does boast of 4GB internal memory, but only 1.4GB is available for use. Where do I get such information? The net and various forums like this one.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
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    Jul 2013


    Of course brand matters a lot, but that doesn't mean that you should only buy branded items, sometimes unbranded products are as good, cant say better but they do the job.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2013


    You should buy branded items only, because with branded items you have a guarantee and know that the product will be durable. Also you can easily compare branded products where as with unbranded products you cant really compare or even read reviews about them before purchasing them.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member Preeti_20's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Speed18 View Post
    Also you can easily compare branded products where as with unbranded products you cant really compare or even read reviews about them before purchasing them.
    Thats very true, its easy to review branded products on the internet before purchasing them so that you know what they are like and how they perform, and this can not be done with unbranded products.

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