Dr Kerry Senior, Director of Leather UK writes that in 2021, Leather UK commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK adults to examine consumer attitudes to leather, their understanding of leather and the alternatives, and changes in their shopping habits including where they buy, their attitudes to repairing and reusing products and the importance of sustainability in their purchasing decisions. The results of the survey were eye-opening.
The issue of sustainability was key for many consumers. The survey found that half (47%) of adults think about the potential impact on the planet when it comes to buying clothes and a third (35%) buy clothing and accessories less frequently now than they did five years ago. However, the study also found that half (50%) of those who buy with sustainability in mind admit that shopping in a way that has the least impact on the planet is confusing and it is hard to know what the right choice is. Just over a quarter (28%) said they read labels carefully and do a lot of research to buy items they think have the least impact on the planet.
As an example of confusion that exists, only a quarter (24%) of respondents were aware that hides or skins used to make leather are a by-product of the food industry that would otherwise go to waste – with half (50%) falsely thinking that cattle were bred specifically for leather. But once they were told the facts, 29% said this information would make them more likely to buy leather in the future. More than half (54%) admitted that they had no idea what ‘vegan leather’ is made of – a catch-all term for material that is often marketed as a sustainable alternative to real leather but can be 100% plastic.
To read the rest of this article by Dr Kerry Senior of Leather UK, click on LWG – Consumer Attitude towards Leather