PEABODY, Mass.--(TÜV SÜD America, a subsidiary of TÜV SÜD AG, one of the world’s leading providers of testing, inspection and certification services today released the results of the 2012 TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge global study. The study investigates product safety practices alongside consumer attitudes and experiences, across the consumer electronics, children’s products and food sectors in five different markets.)--
“It is critical to investigate all safety initiatives and procedures to protect against possible recalls. Recall consequences can be devastating for companies‘ financials, reputation and future sales”
“Consumers, particularly families, are more and more discerning, and care more about safety than anybody thought,” stated Ian Nicol, President & CEO, TÜV SÜD America. According to the research, consumers consider product safety as one of the most important criteria when purchasing a product, above brand or the product origin. Nearly all (72%) stated they are willing to pay an average premium over standard prices of 15% for products that achieve exemplary safety standards. Furthermore, for 8 out of 10 consumers, safety certifications influence their preference for a familiar brand and 60% of consumers look for safety certifications when encountering an unknown brand.
“Manufacturers, distributers and retailers in the United States have an opportunity to not only enhance consumer wellbeing but drive commercial success through a more systematic approach to product safety. Contrary to popular belief, significant safety improvements can be made with limited resources, by working together with suppliers for instance, standardizing safety requirements throughout the supply chain.” said Ian Nicol.
Globally, the research highlighted that over half (56%) of manufacturers, distributers and retailers are unable to trace components throughout their supply chain and 47% cannot guarantee that their entire supply chain meet product safety requirements.
“It is critical to investigate all safety initiatives and procedures to protect against possible recalls. Recall consequences can be devastating for companies‘ financials, reputation and future sales,” added Nicol.
The research also highlights how clear product safety labels and third party testing can drive product sales. 87% of respondents indicated that they are more likely to buy products with safety information clearly stated on its packaging and 84% of consumers agree that third-party safety testing of products is important before they are sold in the market.
“We are confident that these findings will help organizations as they holistically assess their safety and risks procedures and in turn, decide to strategically leverage the safety attribute as a key sales and reputational driver to increase competitiveness and profitability,“ concluded Nicol.
Detailed US results for the food, children’s product and consumer electronics industries were as follows:
Food Safety: While the food industry is considered the safest of all sectors surveyed, nearly all consumers expect further efforts from companies on product’s traceability and transparency
Of the sectors surveyed in the 2012 Safety Gauge, food companies were the most aware of product safety practices in their industry and consumers ranked food the safest sector among those surveyed (children’s product and consumer electronics).
Increasingly aware of food safety dangers and recalls, consumers stated that hygiene is one of the most important criteria when purchasing a product, above brand or the product origin. Price and freshness respectively, were the biggest purchasing influencers according to those surveyed. Of note, Mexico ranked second to last from the list of countries from which products are safest, ahead China but behind India or South Asia; Canada, Brazil and Northern Europe were considered the safest.
Not surprisingly, raw meat / fish products, followed by milk / dairy / eggs and vegetables / fruit, were cited as the food products of most concern by respondents.
Consumer Electronics: Consumers lack understanding of labels and packaging safety
The TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge 2012 indicates that concern from consumers around electronics is increasing (an average of 47% of consumers have experienced safety issues in the past five years). In this context, product safety labeling is the largest factor driving product safety perception among consumers (54%), more than product design (52%), brand (51%), country of origin (35%) and retailer (32%).
Although 78% of consumers surveyed are aware of at least one safety label, about one quarter said they don’t understand current product safety labels for consumer electronics.
The research also finds that consumers are confident about products originating from the developed countries but give less credit to products originating from China, South East Asia or Mexico.
Children’s Products: Product safety labels are the top determinant of safety level for children’s products with 62%, above brand (57%), product design (53%) or the country of origin (42%)
Of those surveyed in the 2012 TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge, 51% experienced safety issues with children’s products in the last five years. The products of most concern among the respondents were toys (75%), baby car seats (60%), cribs (56%) and baby bottles (36%).
Safety when purchasing children’s products is an important concern. Safety falls midway in the hierarchy of purchase decision criteria behind price and performance but above brand or country of origin. Although in this hierarchy of factors, price comes on top, consumers are willing to forego price for safety by paying a premium (16.6%) for products that are superior in quality.
Over 79% of consumers surveyed are aware of product safety labels while 78% of consumers look for safety certifications when encountering an unknown brand. For known brands, safety labels and certification reinforce consumers’ brand preference (93%).
About the Study
The TÜV SÜD 2012 Safety Gauge is a global study, with research undertaken in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, India and Japan – markets that represent almost half of the worldwide Gross Domestic Product.
For the US, more than 1,000 consumers and 100-management level employees were surveyed in manufactures, distributers and retailers that operate in the food and beverage, children’s products and consumer electronics industries. Globally, 5,268 consumers and 520 businesses have been surveyed between June and July 2012. More information can be found at www.tuv-sud.com/safetygauge.
About TÜV SÜD America Inc.
TÜV SÜD America Inc., a subsidiary of TÜV SÜD AG, Munich, Germany, is a leading globally recognized testing, inspection, and certification organization. TÜV SÜD America's Industry Service division offers a variety of global conformity assessment services that help ensure a product's acceptance and success in the global marketplace. Industry Service's full suite of services includes wind and renewable energy services, engineering, construction, and repair services for the power and process industries, consulting, third-party inspection, testing & certification. The Industry Service division also provides Notified Body services through its parent organization TÜV SÜD Group, a Notified Body for the PED and TPED, and other EU Directives.