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High prices, quality confusion barriers to sustainable shopping in UK

Jul '21
Pic: EY
Pic: EY
Interest of British consumers in sustainable products has risen significantly, says the latest EY Future Consumer Index survey, which found barriers to consumers shopping more sustainably include high prices, confusion around product quality and lack of trust in sustainability credentials. Over a quarter (28 per cent) respondents admitted to increasing purchase of sustainable products during the pandemic.

Thirty four per cent respondents in the survey of over 1,000 UK consumers said they plan to raise that after the pandemic.

More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said high prices were a definite deterrent to purchasing sustainable products. More than a third (35 per cent) wished they could afford to do more.

But even though sustainable products can come at a cost premium, UK consumers say that the investment brings a feel-good factor that is important to them. Twenty eight per cent of those that have bought such goods said they were playing their part for future generations and 27 per cent felt they were contributing back to the future of the planet and society.

Other than cost, quality of information and trust in brands are also significant barriers. Fifty six per cent cited misleading product information as putting them off buying, and slightly more than half lack trust in brands and retailers to help them make sustainable purchasing choices.

Over three-fifths (64 per cent) of respondents perceive sustainable options to be of poorer quality. This ultimately leads consumers to lose patience, with 37 per cent saying that understanding how to make more sustainable choices is too difficult or time-consuming.

The EY report also found that consumer expectations around sustainability vary significantly by age and product category or sector. Younger consumers (those under the age of 40) have human rights in their top three concerns, prioritising it nearly twice as much as their older peers. Human rights sit alongside climate change and plastic waste for this age bracket.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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