A new study shows that despite many major brands like Levi’s and Madewell putting significant effort into takeback and resale programs, and textile recycling, a full 35 percent of consumers across the U.S. and Europe have not heard of the circular economy.
Despite that perhaps surprising finding, the good news is that of those that had heard of the circular economy, 45 percent indicated they have extensive knowledge and actively participate. In addition – perhaps unsurprisingly – engagement is higher among younger generations, with more than 53 percent saying they actively participate in the circular economy. In comparison, 32.4 percent in the oldest grouping said the same, meaning there’s significant potential to engage them further.
Additional survey finding included:
- Both traditional and social media are how most consumers acquire much of their circular knowledge, followed by “political discussion” and through friends.
- Only one in five respondents mentioned that they get their information from manufacturers and suppliers directly, indicating that businesses may need to do more to get their message out and build trust.
- Behavioural patterns, upbringing and purchasing power all play a role in the degree to which consumers lean into the circular economy.
- About 21 percent of respondents said they believe boycotts and advocacy can work, which could represent a risk for companies that do not improve and communicate their contribution to circularity.
- Those above 55 years of age do more repairs than their younger counterparts, while the younger respondents tend to buy more secondhand