Is it leather or not?
Did you know that 20% of car buyers believe that artificial materials, marketed as a leather-like product, are in fact leather? It gets worse: 30% of consumers believe that materials labeled as ‘vegan leather’ are entirely or partly made from animal hides. When it comes to materials sold as ‘PU-leather’ 55% of people questioned were still convinced this was a partly animal-based product. Confusing, right?
Just for the sake of comparison, 20% of consumers believe bonded leather is genuine leather, where 35% are unsure if it is. It seems that using the term ‘leather’ in the material name clearly affects buyer perception and leaves consumers puzzled about the actual nature of products. The irony is, of course, that the term ‘vegan’ implies zero use of products or parts from animals, which contradicts the definition of leather as a tanned animal hide. This is a major problem, but also part of deceptive labeling and marketing.
Trade commissions in various countries have voiced concern over this development. The American Federal Trade Commission has even stated that the threshold between consumer confusion and consumer deception has been qualitatively defined and current industry practices have exceeded the significant minority outline.
In the end, consumers still regard the term leather as a label for quality. Many other materials benefit from this reputation, but it’s a sad fact that often they have little to do with the original.