A Study of Regretted Purchases in the UK

24 October 2016

A new paper from the Use Less Group paper presents findings from a nationally representative household survey on the tendency to regret purchases across 20 product groups. The survey reveals that the vast majority of adults in Great Britain (82%) have regretted a purchase in the past. Post-purchase regret is shown to be particularly prevalent for clothing & footwear and takeaway food. The tendency to regret purchases appears to reduce with age and to be more common amongst white collar rather than blue collar workers. Combining survey results with average price estimates gives an estimated, aggregate, annual expenditure on regretted purchases of £5–25bn, equivalent to 2–10% of annual consumer spending on goods in Great Britain. These findings are interesting because they suggest that there is a degree of self-assessed over-consumption that, if reduced, could help to reduce pressures on the environment.

Research Area: 
Whole Systems Analysis