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UK teens own six pairs of trainers on average

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today Oct 4, 2019
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UK teenagers own 30 million pairs of trainers in total with an average six pairs per person for the five million 13-19 year-olds in the country. However, 10% of them have at least 10 pairs and 2% have a collection of 20+.


Teens love athletic shoes and own around six pairs each - Image Dương Nhân


That’s according to a survey of 400 teens by eco charity Global Action Plan (GAP), which also spoke to 600 parents and identified huge areas of conflict around their kids’ trainer addiction. Some 40% of them argue with their teenage children about the trainers they buy.

The survey was reported in The Times and also showed that while the teen demographic is very concerned about climate change, this group doesn’t seem to link their trainer habit with their environmental impact.

Of the trainers teens own, many are worn little and 30% have lain unworn for at least three months.

The charity said that if this group cut its trainer purchases by half, it would reduce the same amount of carbon dioxide as removing 73,000 cars from the road for a year.

Of course, cutting their trainer spend isn’t what the industry wants to see happening but it is a wake-up call for it to up its game in terms of sustainable practices. That could be from a manufacturing viewpoint or linked to recycling unused-but-wearable products or end-of-life items.

The charity’s survey also came with a warning about digital advertising that it said is more likely to be seen by teens and not be noticed by parents.

Some 39% of those surveyed said they feel peer pressure to have the latest brands and products and that they’re often targeted by brands online. GAP said more than £10 million was spent last year on e-ads for trainers, compared to £2 million on the TV ads that are more likely to be seen by parents too. 

Natasha Parker, GAP’s head of wellbeing and consumerism, said the group has called on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to bring forward a promised review on how online advertising is regulated “to better protect teenagers' wellbeing and the health of the planet.”

She referred to the “wild west of social media advertising from opaque influencer ads to age-inappropriate promotion to the sheer volume of adverts to which young people, often ill equipped to resist consumerist forces, are exposed
.”

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