IPA Survey reveals circular economy set to grow amidst cost of living crunch

Findings show that consumers are more likely to rent, repair and resell items

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


As the cost of living crisis continues to impact consumers up and down the UK, the circular economy which sees people looking to rent, repair and re-sell items is set to grow, according to a new survey from the IPA. 

The new survey carried out by Opinium asked 2000 people in the UK their views on the circular economy and found people more willing to engage with renting, repairing and re-selling across all age demographics. 

“With the continuing cost-of-living crisis, coupled with consumers’ increased awareness and anxiety around supply chain and sustainability issues, it is clear that the circular economy is becoming increasingly significant,” says Sophie Dimond, Insight Analyst. 

Within the circular economy, the survey found that the most common activity people are engaging in is giving items away to charity, friends, and family. 71% of respondents shared that they were looking to do so more or the same amount as last year. 19% of consumers plan to give away more items than last year, while 53% plan to give away the same amount.

The second most popular circular economy activity is repairing items, with a total of 57% of respondents stating that they either plan to do this more themselves this year (17%) or the same amount (40%) as last year. With consumers focused on value and extending the life of products, brands have an opportunity to capitalise on this via offering free repairs like Patagonia. Elsewhere brands can connect with audiences on social media platforms like TikTok to share tutorials or craft videos to boost engagement such as in the Do It With TikTok campaign.

The survey also found an increased interest in second-hand shopping with 55% of people saying they intend to buy items from second-hand shops (19% more this year and 37% the same amount). “From these results we are already seeing a considerable rise in popularity of resale sites such as Vinted and eBay.” explained Dimond. 49% people said that they will buy items from a resale platform, such as eBay and Vinted and 46% intend to sell items on a resale platform.

Where the cost of living crisis is having a big impact on the way consumers are shopping, brands have an opportunity to engage with shifting behaviours and support people during turbulent times.

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