Consumer Attitudes to Electrical and Electronic Products

1st February 2008

Most consumers would accept the use of recycled materials in electronic products, as demonstrated by new WRAP research conducted by Ipsos MORI in 2008.

Key Findings
Participants expressed admiration for companies that used recycled material in their products.
Most group members assumed that new products contained little or no recycled content, because this is not labelled clearly.
Participants had a very low level of understanding about eco products in general.

Overview

A brief overview

High-end products containing recycled plastic (including a television, a vacuum cleaner and a concept mobile phone) were discussed and reviewed by focus group participants.

In these sessions WRAP analysed the customer attitudes to sustainable electrical products and the use of recycled material in sustainable electrical products.

Completed in 2008, this report forms the basis for WRAP's current work on the promotion of the use of recycled material in the manufacture of new products.

Chapters

Chapters

As part of this research WRAP has developed the two reports, detailed in the following chapters:

Conclusions

Conclusions

The response was a largely positive one, with participants expressing admiration for companies that used recycled material in their products.

Function, value, style and brand were held to be more important than environmental considerations. However, the WRAP results show that some consumers would favour an electronic item containing recycled content at the point of purchase - if two items available were broadly similar in every other way.

In addition, consumers do not feel that manufacturers take environmental issues into consideration - though this assumption is largely based on the fact that consumers are not made aware of it if they do. A lack of appropriate labelling and consumer misunderstanding of logos were considered contributory factors.

To find more detailed conclusions on each report, please jump to the 'Findings' sections in the report chapters below: 

Study 1 Findings >>
Study 2 Findings >>

Further

Further reading

To find out more information about using recycled content in your products, you can find additional research below:

Case Study: Closed-Loop Recycling – Opening the Door to Cost Savings >> 

Chapter 1: Consumer attitudes to sustainable electrical products

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) wanted to explore consumer attitudes to the kinds of sustainable attributes in electrical products that are on the market and better understand the key influences on the decision making process to purchasing them. M·E·L Research undertook a qualitative study to help understand these issues.

Key Points:

  • Participants generally agreed they would purchase a product with environmental attributes if all other factors such as quality, price and specification were equal (although sceptical about many of the eco features).
  • The large majority of respondents thought that eco features would make the product more expensive and most questioned whether this would offer value for money in the long term.
  • Consumers generally wanted more information on eco features before purchasing. They were particularly interested in how they could make savings on their energy bills, and thought this could be more fully exploited by brands.
  • Most participants were open minded towards more eco electrical products being made available, however the area they thought would be the most logical in the immediate future is in domestic appliances.

Jump to:

Study methodology >>
Findings >>

Download the full report >>

Chapter 2: Consumer attitudes to the use of recycled material in sustainable electrical products

WRAP wanted to understand consumers’ awareness and views on the use of recycled materials in electrical and electronic (EEE) products. This would inform WRAP’s future work on the promotion of using recycled materials in the manufacture of new products.

Ipsos MORI was appointed to undertake focus group sessions to gauge consumer opinions.

Key Points:

  • Participants generally agreed they would purchase a product with environmental attributes if all other factors such as quality, price and specification were equal (although sceptical about many of the eco features).
  • The large majority of respondents thought that eco features would make the product more expensive and most questioned whether this would offer value for money in the long term.
  • Consumers generally wanted more information on eco features before purchasing. They were particularly interested in how they could make savings on their energy bills, and thought this could be more fully exploited by brands.
  • Most participants were open minded towards more eco electrical products being made available, however the area they thought would be the most logical in the immediate future is in domestic appliances.

Jump to:

Contents >>

Key facts >>
Study aim and methodology >>
Findings >>

Download the full report >>

Where next?

Want to know more about consumer behaviour in sustainable electricals? Take a look at our reports, tools and case studies for further information:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>