Inform consumers on durability of products to drive change, says a new study from the Commission

A new study by the European Commission shows that European consumers are generally willing to engage in Circular Economy (CE) practices, such as repairing products, but actual engagement is rather low mainly because they lack information regarding product durability and reparability.

The report, entitled Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy, showed that the price-quality ratio is the most important driver at the purchase stage. Consumers are willing to pay for products with better durability and repairability, especially for large and expensive appliances, because durability is associated with quality.

Convenience also plays a significant role in users’ repair practices. For example, when a product breaks, more than a third of consumers (36%) prefer to purchase new products. This is because they don’t know how or where to repair products (up to 10%), they expect repairs to be too expensive (up to 50%), or to require too much effort (up to 14%).

The report concludes that there is a need for policies to make repair easier, make durability and repairability information available at the point of sale.

The study was published as the European institutions are finalising a series of new Ecodesign measures to make the repair of appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers easier. ECOS has been following this work very closely. In addition, ECOS has been involved in the development of a European repairability index and strongly believes that information on durability and repairability of products should be added to the Energy Label.