Energy Label: The UFC has just published a study on the performance and durability of products which constitute a rising consumer concern.
While the revision of the Energy Label Directive is still ongoing at European level, the UFC - Que Choisir publishes the final results of a qualitative survey (1) which highlights the very high expectations of consumers in terms of information on the performance and sustainability of electrical and electronic products. The association also highlights consumers' concerns about the reliability of the energy label, as well as the need for an increase in the warranty period that varies depending on the type of product.
• Revised energy label: less "+" and more concrete, the winning equation for consumers
The energy label, widely used by the consumers surveyed and especially the younger ones, has reached the end of a cycle; on some products, the offer focuses on a small number of energy classes: 83% of the washing machines on sale are thus labeled A +++ and A ++. According to our qualitative survey, a return to the original energy scale, ranging from A to G, is overwhelmingly perceived as positive even if it raises some concerns related to the adaptation period.
Similarly, a large proportion of consumers surveyed underline the fact that information on consumption levels is too abstract. Expressed in kilowatt hours and in liters, they do not make it possible to judge the cost of use. However, information on the user cost is expected by respondents, and appears as the solution to reconcile ecology and economy. It makes people realize that even more expensive to buy, ecologically virtuous equipment can be more economical over its entire lifetime. Over ten years of use of a washing machine, the purchase price represents only 28% 35% of the total cost!
• Controlling the allegations of the professionals: the consumers call to draw lessons from the scandal on the car pollution
Interviews with consumers underline their distrust of the origin and reliability of the data. Some buyers, more rare, go so far as to ignore the label for these reasons. Several European control campaigns (2) have indeed shown large differences in consumption compared to the claims on the label. For example, in the project framework MarketWatch funded by the European Commission and at which the UFC - Que Choisir actively participated, near 1 product tested on 5 under estimated its actual consumption.
• Lifetime information and a warranty period change are needed
The increase in the rate of household equipment in household electrical products and electronics increases the cases of failure: 1 household over a year, 3 suffered a breakdown of its household appliances. However, driven by increasingly high repair prices (+ 116% in 15 years), and sometimes in the absence of a repairer or spare parts, 40% of consumers prefer to replace their product instead of having it repaired. . These brakes on repair could be partially lifted by a change in the warranty period, which varies according to the product range.
The study shows that the consumers surveyed want to be able to make a more rational choice by having information allowing them to know the expected life of the products. Here again, economic and ecological issues come together: with this display, sales of the most durable products increase by 56%, even when they are more expensive to buy.
The UFC-Que Choisir also showed that the longer the guarantee period is perfectly acceptable in terms of price, since passage of two to five years on appliances would increase them than 1% to 3%.
With these findings, the UFC-Que Choisir, anxious to stimulate a supply of sustainable and less energy-consuming products, demand for national and European authorities:
• Beyond a strict rescheduling of energy labeling from A to G, strengthening controls of performance claims;
• the obligation to display the cost of use and the lifetime of the products;
• the introduction of a variable legal warranty period based on the economic criteria and the lifetime of the products, in order to improve their repairability.
(1) Qualitative survey financed by ADEME. It is based on 4 focus groups in each 7 9 people. The focus groups were asked about the themes of energy label, the life of the products and user costs.
(2) ATLETE I Compliant TV or Premium Light