Millennials are more likely to spend less on products than other age groups amidst cost-of-living crisis, shows new research

14 December 2022

Research of 2,000 adults into how they prioritize cost and quality when purchasing new products has found that millennials (aged 26 to 41) were more likely to opt for the cheapest option over a superior alternative (45 per cent), whereas those aged 45 to 54 (Gen X) valued quality over price most (59 per cent).1  However, despite this, four out of five millennials do recognise that cost is directly linked to the quality of household electrical items such as kettles or chargers.2

The new research from BSI, the business improvement, product testing and standards company, revealed a generational divide. Gen Z adults (those aged 18 to 24) were found to be less likely to consider the lifespan of a product when making their purchasing decision, in contrast to those aged between 55 and 64, who were the least likely to try to cut costs by purchasing what they considered to be lower quality products.3

However, younger generations are doing their research – around three-quarters (74%) of Gen Z adults said they don’t often make purchases without reading the fine print associated with the products or are actively seeking information about a product’s quality.4 The research also highlighted that when purchasing an electrical product, one in four consumers say they would look for certification logos, such as the BSI Kitemark, to ensure peace of mind around quality and safety.5

Natasha Bambridge, Global Director of Consumer Promise Practice at BSI, said:

“The worsening economic conditions mean that consumers everywhere are adapting their purchasing behaviours and looking for ways to save money, both in the short term and in the long term. Kitemark certification from BSI indicates that a product has undergone rigorous testing to vet its safety and quality and more and more products now carry the Kitemark, from traditional plugs and sockets and windows and doors, right through to sofas, mattresses and home security cameras and smart doorbells.

“Manufacturers can support consumers experiencing anxiety about value-for-money when purchasing new products by labelling their products correctly, presenting clear and helpful information, and through displaying independent certification logos like the BSI Kitemark.”

When considering a product’s lifespan, according to the survey results, value-for-money now trumps all other considerations, including environmental considerations. Only 21% of adults say they would consider a product’s lifespan and durability because it’s better for the environment as fewer broken or older appliances will get sent to landfills, versus 43% of all adults who said that they consider its lifespan due to value-for-money.6

Consumer purchasing habits also vary wildly between the UK’s regions. A net 68% of Londoners said that they now buy cheaper items that they fully expect to last half as long as higher quality products, in order to cut costs against only a net 42% in the East Midlands and a net 34% in the South West.6


For all media enquiries including interview requests, please contact Kelly Mooney, Assurance PR Manager, BSI: or call +44 (0) 7769 367 268

Notes to Editors:

On behalf of BSI, OnePoll surveyed a nationally representative set of 2,003 UK adults between the 23rd and 29th of September 2022.

Questions referred to in this press release include:

  1. Which statement do you agree with the most? - 'I am more likely to go for the cheapest option over quality OR 'I am more likely to go for quality over the cheapest option
  2. Which, if any, of the following statements do you agree with?
  3. I just assume any electricals I buy will be up to standard
  4. Price usually dictates whether I buy something or not, over
  5. I worry about the electrical safety of older products
  6. I tend to buy cheaper if I think a product is lower risk
  7. When I buy items, often there isn’t enough information about whether it has been tested properly
  8. There is ‘no difference’ between cost and quality when buying products
  9. I often make purchases without reading the finer details of a product’s information label
  10. None of these
  11. When you purchase a new product or device (e.g. home appliances, furniture, or bicycle helmets, etc.), do you consider its durability when deciding which one to purchase? That is the lifespan of the product, as stated by the manufacturer.
  12. When buying electronic products and devices, whether new or second-hand, do you/ your household specifically check for certification logos for a guarantee of quality and safety?
  13. Why do you consider a product’s lifespan?
  14. Because it’s better value for money
  15. Because it’s better for the environment
  16. Because I don't want to have to keep replacing things
  17. Because I prefer buying higher-quality products in general
  18. no particular reason/ not sure
  19. 6. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘I/ my household buy items that I/ we fully expect to last half as long as higher quality products, in order to cut costs’?

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