Who Is Most Likely To Buy ‘Next-Gen’ Materials?
Next-gen products are defined as products made from sustainable, animal-free materials instead of being made from traditional animal products like wool, leather, and silk. It’s a subject that we’re watching closely at Faunalytics, and we’ve covered the topic in our library in both study summaries and blogs.
In this report, researchers surveyed 2,051 people about their opinions on next-gen products. They looked at indicators of future adoption of new materials, market shares, and what identifies an “early adopter.” Early adopters are the first people who try a new material (or next-gen material) before it becomes basic for the general population, and it’s important to figure out who early adopters would be to predict how new materials are going to come into fashion. The study found that 94% of people were at least somewhat likely to use these new products, while 45% were highly likely to purchase next-gen. Those 45% were considered “early adopters.” Early adopters had higher incomes, more education, and were more liberal.
To determine how well next-gen materials would be adopted, the study looked at the likelihood of someone purchasing and paying more for a next-gen item, the support for next-gen items to be available, and the potential market share for next-gen leather, wool, silk, fur, down, and exotic animal skins.
To determine predictors of early adoption, they asked questions on what motivates a person to purchase next-gen materials, what name people preferred for these new products (next-gen, eco, bio-based, alternative, vegan, or bio) and why they chose this name. They also asked questions related to their likelihood for purchasing products made from different technologies (plant, algae, lab-grown animal cells, compostable, etc), what product types they would buy, their shopping habits (price, brands, quality, etc), and socio-demographic questions.
For market share potential, people estimated that 54-66% of products they purchased in each category (leather, skins, etc) would be next-gen instead of conventional. People were more likely to buy products that were familiar to them such as made from recycled materials or plants/algae. Recycled materials were 75% highly likely to purchase, biodegradable materials were 68%, and plants/algae/fungi were 57%. Researchers predict that people would be more likely to purchase products from unfamiliar technologies if they had more knowledge on newer techniques, such as cell cultivation. 83% of the general population were somewhat likely to pay a higher price for next-gen products and 39% were highly likely to pay more. Boomers were the generation who were the least likely to pay more.
People would switch for three main reasons: environmental concerns, animal welfare, and product quality. Meanwhile, The top three names chosen were eco, animal-free, and next-gen. These names were chosen because they highlight the best part about the new materials — the most important attribute that people were looking for in their clothing was quality. The top brands that people shopped were Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas. Researchers hypothesized that, because early adopters have similar sociodemographic characteristics as the general population, next-gen materials will be widely accepted in the U.S. — given the right marketing that appeals to the mix of factors above.
Next-gen materials are extremely important to the future of animals and the future of the environment. Determining early adopters and potential market share brings us one step closer to successfully introducing these materials more broadly to the U.S. population.