How inflation influences sustainable sports gear purchases
September 7th, 2023, Kineree Shah

How inflation influences sustainable sports gear purchases

In an era where sustainability is on everyone's radar, how do consumers prioritize their sustainable purchases, especially when faced with financial constraints? A recent survey conducted by YouGov across 18 international markets delves into which categories of eco-friendly products consumers are most likely to cut back on should their household budgets be squeezed due to inflation. In this piece we will be focusing on the purchase of sustainable sports gear such as biodegradable golf balls, vegan boxing gloves, etc.

Out of the sustainable categories listed, sports gear witnessed a slightly lesser propensity for cutbacks (41%) in comparison to consumer electronics (46%), apparels (46%), ethical smartphones (45%), food (45%), auto (45%), and beauty products (45%). However, one in six global consumers say they never purchase environmentally friendly sports products – the most across categories (16%). 

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In the European context, Italy leads the chart, with more than half consumers suggesting they would likely cut back on sustainable sports gear due to inflation (55%). Spain and Poland follow closely behind (47% each). Markets like Britain (32%), France (28%), Denmark (26%), and Germany (25%) show a noticeably lower inclination towards cutting back. This is possibly because a significant proportion of consumers here say they have never made environmentally friendly purchases of sports gear in the first place. For instance, in Britain and Denmark, a quarter of consumers indicate this (26% and 27% respectively).

In North America, there's a clear contrast between Canada and the US. Over one in three Canadians say they are likely to cut back on sustainable sports gear (36%), but the figure is markedly lower in the US (28%). However, when examining the percentage of those who have never bought sustainable sports products, the US stands out. Almost two in three Americans state they've never bought such products (32%), compared to one-fifth in Canada (21%), signaling a potential untapped market for sustainable sports gear.

Asia presents a varied landscape. Indonesia is at the top with three in five consumers leaning towards cutting back due to inflation (62%). This is followed closely by countries like China, UAE, and India (each with 52%). At the lower end, Hong Kong and Singapore have two-fifth of consumers likely to cut back on sustainable sports gear (44% and 45% respectively). In these two markets, at least one in 10 consumers state they never purchase sustainable products (13% and 14% respectively) which is comparatively higher to Indonesia, India, and UAE (4% each). 

From the data across markets, it's evident that economic factors like inflation have a significant influence on sustainable purchasing decisions. However, there are vast differences between markets within the same region, underscoring the importance of understanding local market dynamics. Another notable trend is the sizable segment of consumers who've never engaged with sustainable sports gear in certain markets, hinting at untapped opportunities for marketers of sustainable sports gear.

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Methodology- YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 511 and 1999 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in May 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.