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UK consumers believe companies only commit to the circular economy to profit from it, revealed in a new study by GetApp

Why businesses invest in the circular economy according to UK consumers.

Graph showing reasons that British consumers engage with circular economy products

The main reason consumers buy second hand products.

GetApp UK’s latest research study surveys over 1,000 respondents to better understand businesses’ and consumers’ participation in the circular economy.

LONDON, BARCELONA, UNITED KINGDOM, September 28, 2022 / — GetApp’s first report reveals that consumers believe money is the main incentive driving circular economy advocacy among businesses. 41% of respondents were of the opinion that companies take advantage of circular economy processes to benefit economically from government initiatives. Whilst 36% believe it is just a policy for greenwashing.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents opposed the statement that businesses are doing enough to cut down on waste. Whilst 84% of consumers would like more transparency regarding businesses’ sustainability measures.

Furthermore, an overall majority of 89% maintained that the government could be doing more to monitor company compliance with circular economy practices.

GetApp’s study also reveals how 39% of respondents had never heard of the concept of a circular economy before they were shown the definition. Demonstrating how there is still not enough awareness or education provided on the circular economy.

Consumers’ engagement in the circular economy:

GetApp’s second study demonstrates how, much like businesses, consumers principally take part in the circular economy to save money. 50% stated they buy second-hand products to spend less, compared with just 12% that do it for sustainability purposes.

GetApp’s study also reveals buyers’ passive perspective toward shopping for second-hand products, as 28% admit to not doing it very often, whilst 15% never shop second-hand. Some of the main reasons given by people who didn’t wish to shop second-hand were that they prefer new products (64%), followed by their apprehension towards the quality of second-hand products (53%) and concern regarding how long the item would last (48%).

Additionally, 29% of consumers don’t sell second-hand items very often. Of those that do, three times more consumers voted making money as the primary motivation behind selling second-hand items (54%), in comparison to those that do it for sustainability purposes (18%).

Overall, GetApp’s study uncovers how the circular economy model is not taken seriously enough by the UK government or businesses. Which in turn generates mistrust among the UK public, and therefore reduces the likelihood of consumers themselves investing in it. Additionally, when they do participate, their primary motivations lie in also making money, instead of being more environmentally friendly.

David Jani, Content Analyst at GetApp UK, comments:

A large proportion of our sample (39%) had never heard of the circular economy before. Yet, it seemed clear from our findings, that practices such as anti-waste, renewable energy and reuse of materials, which are common circular processes, were regarded well by consumers.

However, the public’s commitment to performing these practices themselves is still somewhat limited. It is also clear that the main incentive for doing so is saving money or earning additional income.

This seems to reflect that whilst the circular economy is an everyday practice for many people, greater awareness and engagement are needed to drive sustainability in the UK.

About GetApp

GetApp is the recommendation engine small businesses need to make the right software choice. GetApp enables SMEs to achieve their mission by delivering the tailored, data-driven recommendations and insights needed to make informed software purchasing decisions. For more information, visit

Study Methodology

Data for the circular economy study was collected in July 2022, in which 1,027 UK consumers responded to GetApp’s survey.

Carmina Solano Davis

Marketing Specialist (UK)

Carmina Solano Davis
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