Colourful Gumboots upcycled to garden pots

New research has revealed that Australian consumers are looking for creative ways to reduce waste by extending product life, and are asking brands to help them. 

It reveals that despite myriad new green alternatives now on the market, consumers are steering clear of the “new is always better” adage in favour of the more sustainable option of repairing and reusing the old, and they want brands to help them achieve this goal. 

The Consumer Trends Report 2022: Rebound + Rebalance from consumer insight agency InSites Consulting analysed over 15,000 people to identify 10 consumer trends predicted to determine the attitude and behaviour of consumers in 2022. 

It found that 70 per cent of Australian consumers have a positive affiliation towards “extending life”. 

“We know from previous studies that Aussies look to brands for help in taking care of the planet; and the ‘extending life’ trend is further evidence of this. Brands should look to help Australian consumers extend life cycles and minimise waste in creative but sustainable ways,” said NextGen expert at InSites Consulting Joeri Van den Bergh. 

This comes as last month the Productivity Commission found that there are “significant and unnecessary barriers” to consumers’ Right to Repair and recommended sweeping changes to Australia’s consumer and copyright laws that would make it cheaper and easier to repair faulty items, extend product life, and reduce waste. 

Other results from the study include:

  • the self-optimisation culture is slowing down but cultural expectations to succeed still exist
  • age no longer defines the path we’re expected to take
  • things which society has always presented to us as ‘normal’ are being questioned

“Amidst the ongoing uncertainty, people have prioritised

small moments of joy and living for today”

– Lily Charnock

According to the report, young people are the protagonists in the extending life trend of consumer choice. Culture and trends director Lily Charnock attributes this in part to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, where “amidst the ongoing uncertainty, people have prioritised small moments of joy and living for today”.

The data reveals that Australia leads the way compared to many of our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific, but matches the average score globally.

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