Nine out of ten consumers have never heard of the ‘circular economy’

Almost 90% of beauty shoppers did not know the term for the economic system aimed at eliminating waste, despite 88% claiming to look for sustainability credentials when shopping for personal care

Nine out of ten consumers have never heard of the concept ‘circular economy’, a new survey has found.

The results, collated by The Pull Agency, reported that 87% of UK consumers do not know the term for the economic system, which is aimed at eliminating waste, despite 88% claiming to look for sustainability credentials when shopping for beauty and personal care products.

In addition, only 9% of respondents said they have sent a jar back to a manufacturer for refills and only 14% have used a refill service, even though 15% of shoppers want more in-store refill stations to reuse existing containers.

However, in spite of beauty brands’ efforts to educate and reassure consumers of their eco-friendly credentials, 70% do not find brands’ current sustainability claims helpful when choosing a product over another, and almost 100% agreed that brands need to be more transparent about their sustainability efforts.

“Sustainability has become a key element of some beauty and personal care brands’ marketing, especially when targeting younger audiences, but this research suggests many of them still have a long way to go,” said Clare Rance, Head of Brand Strategy at The Pull Agency.

“They may also be focusing on behaviours that consumers are reluctant to actually pursue, like returning containers to the manufacturer for refills or recycling.”

She added: “It’s an issue where they will have to be more transparent if they don’t want to get left behind, and the fact that so few consumers have even heard of the ‘circular economy’ doesn’t help the cause.”

Recycling rules

The findings did highlight however an importance on recyclability.

Some 45% of the customers surveyed said they look for recycling symbols on their beauty and personal care packs.

However, other kitemarks, such as Soil Association certified and Ecocert are less well-known among shoppers.

“Consumers are looking for evidence of a sustainable approach like the leaping bunny, but most of the certifications currently aren’t on shoppers’ radar and it suggests those organisations need to do more work to promote their efforts,” added Rance.

“Beauty and personal care brands have to see sustainability as an opportunity to better connect and engage with their audiences.

“We’ve all seen how the environment has been positively impacted by the lockdowns and quarantines of 2020, and consumers expect brands to do their utmost to keep things moving in the right direction.”

For exclusive analysis on this topic with The Pull Agency follow the link below.


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