Stericycle survey finds millennials are twice as likely to ignore or discard recall notices.
INDIANAPOLIS –  Manufacturers undertaking a product recall may need to rethink their communications strategies when it comes to recalls. A recent survey by Stericycle Expert Solutions found that Americans age 18-34 are the least compliant across all age groups when it comes to recalls.

The survey found that, compared to 6 percent of baby boomers (age 55 and over), 18 percent of millennials are more likely to say they usually ignore recall notices after reading them; typically throw it in the trash (36 percent vs. 16 percent); and consider recall notices “not serious” (33 percent vs. 21 percent), according to Stericycle.

The key driver leading consumers to ignore product recalls was personal relevance — or lack thereof. Approximately 70 percent of respondents said they judge recall notices based on whether they think they are personally at risk. And 26 percent believe that recall notices are not serious and are sent mainly out of legal obligation.

“It’s a trend that needs to be reversed because millennials are now the largest living American generation and will drive the greatest percentage of product purchases in the near future,” said Michael Good, vice president of marketing and sales operations, Stericycle Expert Solutions. “This research shows that product recalls are as much a communications challenge as they are a logistical one. The lesson for both regulatory bodies and product manufacturers is to make recall compliance easier and more relevant to this generation.”

The survey, which included more than 1,000 Americans, found that most consumers do comply with recall notices for food, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles and consumer electronics.

Stericycle reported that recalls of appliances and power tools are consumer product categories consumers take most seriously. According to the survey, approximately 80 percent of respondents ranked appliances as the first or second item (out of seven items tested) they would most likely act on should they get a recall notice. Power tools came in second with 35 percent.

More than one-third of respondents said they have never received a recall notice for a motor vehicle.

And when it comes to recalls of food and drugs, consumers said they check their food and drug purchases if they hear about a recall indirectly. Approximately 85 percent of respondents said they check their refrigerators or cupboards when they hear about a food recall on the news or via social media, while 82 percent say they check their medicine cabinet for a recalled pharmaceutical product.

Stericycle Expert Solutions is a leading global business-to-business services company which manages automotive, consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, juvenile product, and food and beverage recalls for companies.