Online Exclusives

Consumers Hate Product Waste

By Leslie Rose | April 30, 2015

Survey respondents say they're willing to switch beauty brands for ones with more efficient packaging.

Consumers are frustrated with inadequate packaging solutions that trap perfectly good products and deliver a poor consumer experience – especially for the waste-conscious among us. If you’ve ever struggled to get the last few drops of an expensive

The author, Leslie Rose
cream or shampoo out of the bottle, you’ve experienced this frustration.

LiquiGlide set out to determine how consumers would react to packaging solutions that can eliminate waste. Anecdotally, we knew that consumers hate the waste caused by inefficient packaging, but we wanted to quantify it, so we asked more than a thousand consumers about their attitudes and habits related to the packaging, use, waste and disposal of sticky consumer goods – including health and beauty products like lotion, shampoo and toothpaste. What we found was pretty interesting.

Consumers Hate Waste

When we told them how much of sticky products that the average person throws away (see this 2009 Consumer Reports study) 89% told us they think it’s a huge waste and 85% said they hate that they’re not getting what they paid for. To put things in perspective, we asked people to rate several things that most people dislike on a scale of 1-10. The average for wasting consumer products was 4.8, while going to the dentist was a 4.3 and doing chores was a 4.2!

Part of the results of the consumer survey is shown in the graphic above - see the rest of the Infographic here. 

Consumers Are Determined to Get Every Last Drop

Almost 40% of respondents said they won’t quit until they get every last drop from the packaging. 60% spend more than a few minutes trying to get it, while 15% spend as long as it takes. Almost everyone has tried at least one method to get every last drop,
from storing bottles upside-down (84%) to adding water (68%), cutting containers open (61%), using spatulas (40%), and even using centrifugal force (19%). Some even bought special tools to help extract the last few drops (12%) and some admitted to pulling unfinished bottles from the trash (11%).

Getting the Last Few Drops Can Come at a Price

Almost 60% of respondents admit to making a mess while trying to get the last bit of product, 31% have gotten products all over themselves, and 13% have even injured themselves trying to get the last few drops. Even worse, 27% of people who live with their significant others fight over this!

It’s About the Money, the Principle of the Matter and the Environment

60% of respondents are bothered by the wasted money and the same percentage estimated they lost between $1-$49 annually to product waste. A third of them estimated $50 or more! Beyond just the money, 20% said it’s the “principle of the matter” and 16% were bothered most by environmental concerns.

Here’s Why it Matters

Because consumers hate waste, they’re willing to try alternatives to avoid it. The majority of respondents were willing to try new packaging if it enabled them to get products out more easily (for toothpaste, 93%; shampoo, 89%; body lotion, 88%; and conditioner, 85%). Also, most respondents are willing to switch brands for ones with more efficient packaging (body lotion, 74%; toothpaste, 71%; shampoo, 68%; and conditioner, 67%).

Packaging is a source of differentiation, but product dispensing is becoming increasingly important to brands, too. Not only are products with better evacuation more appealing to consumers, for some products, the repurchase point can also be accelerated. 69% of consumers said they hesitate to open a new package when there’s still some left in the older one.

When it comes to packaging solutions, dispensing plays an important role in the whole consumer experience. It may seem like a small thing, but ease of use is critical to consumers. Make them happy with a great dispensing experience and the brand will have a higher perceived value.

Leslie Rose is a senior marketing manager at LiquiGlide.

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