GB/US: What puts consumers off sustainable products?
June 27th, 2022, Janice Fernandes

GB/US: What puts consumers off sustainable products?

In every industry, brands have started taking an active interest in producing sustainable products. But what’s stopping these products from dominating the market? In a recent YouGov survey we ask consumers about the reasons preventing them from purchasing sustainable products.

Data indicates consumers in both countries find these products too expensive. Significantly more than half of Britons (57%) cite the prices of sustainable products as the reason for not purchasing them. Slightly fewer but still half of Americans (50%) also share the same opinion.

There is also some scepticism over the claims about sustainability. Over two in ten Americans (23%) don’t trust the sustainability claims made by brands. The share drops slightly in Britain where less than two in ten consumers (19%) doubt brand sustainability claims.

While sustainable practices have become increasingly popular, more than one in ten Americans and Brits still feel that sustainable products are difficult to find (16% each). A similar percentage also finds that the quality of sustainable products is not as good as regular products (US – 15%, GB – 14%).

US registers one in ten consumers (10%) who already buy all sustainable products, but Britons are slightly less likely to have fully committed to shopping sustainably (8%).

Is age an influencing factor?

Over half of British consumers across all age groups say sustainable products are too expensive. However, it’s only among older Americans – 45-54-year-olds (58%) and 55+ (57%) – that the same majority forms. Younger Americans are less likely to think along the same lines – 18-24 (41%), 25-34 (45%) and 35-44 (39%).

Americans are less trusting than Brits about brands sustainability claims – and, perhaps surprisingly, that’s more likely to be true of younger consumers in both markets.

Over a third of 18-24-year-old Americans (32%) desist buying sustainable products because they don’t believe brands are being completely honest about their products. Over a quarter of 35-44-year-old Americans (28%) also think likewise. In Britain, 23% of 25-34-year-old consumers do not believe the brand’s claims, and 22% of those aged between 18 to 24 (22%).

While difficulty in accessing these products is a challenge shared by consumers in both markets, younger consumers are more likely to pick it as a reason for not buying sustainable products. In Britain, 18-24-year-old consumers are most likely to say they already buy all sustainable products (12%), followed by those 55+ (9%). The rest of the market registers around one in 20 consumers. In US, it’s the 25-34-year-olds and 35-44-year-olds who are most likely to say they buy sustainable products (15% each).

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Methodology: The data is based on interviews of adults aged 18 and over in US and Great Britain with sample sizes of 1,552 in US and 2,065 in GB. All interviews were conducted online in May 2022. Data from both market uses a nationally representative sample.