18 Jun 2020

Meet the eco-conscious consumer

If the coronavirus crisis has done nothing else, it has highlighted the need for us all to take better care of the planet. During the global lockdown, carbon emissions worldwide decreased by 17% and improvements to the earth’s atmosphere were visible from space, whilst the planet’s wildlife reclaimed their spaces. And this has got many consumers thinking; how can we protect our planet in the longer term? We thought we’d explore some of the key characteristics of the eco-conscious consumer, and what they’re looking for from the brands they buy…

Who are they?

One word: millennials. Whilst they might get a lot of stick for many of their other stereotypical traits, millennials (and their younger Gen Z counterparts) are leading the charge when it comes to a more sustainable way of shopping. A 2018 survey of UK and US consumers by GlobalWebIndex found that 61% of millennials and 58% of Gen Z’ers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products.

Majority though they may be, though, the younger generations aren’t the only ones who are placing more of an emphasis on green goods. There is also some interest in eco-friendly products from the older generations too.

Why are people shopping sustainably?

Where these generations differ is not in their willingness to spend on sustainable products, but their motivations to do so. Where younger generations are more interested in caring for the planet and wildlife, older shoppers are motivated by trying to be a better role model for the families and believe that eco-friendly products are better for their health.

Whose responsibility is it?

As champions of sustainability, Autumn Fair believes that a more sustainable future for retail is the responsibility of consumers, brands, buyers and suppliers alike. Interestingly, this is not the general consensus in the mind of the public, though.

According to the aforementioned survey, 70% of consumers believe the buck stops with them whilst 52% believe that manufacturers and production companies hold some accountability.

What are eco-conscious consumers looking for?

According to Nielsen, the US sustainability market alone is set to reach $150 billion by 2021 – obviously, there’s a demand for sustainability in some shape or form.

It will come as no surprise to readers that some industries are under more scrutiny than others. CPG products and fast fashion have both received a lot of press with regards to sustainability over recent years, with increasing pressure to reduce plastic waste and waste to landfill, clean up production lines and create a more circular economy for goods.

If the customer feels that they are responsible for the planet and for consuming sustainably, then it goes without saying that they will buy into brands that will fit with these values. Not only this, but their brand loyalty can be swayed if a brand fails to fit with these new values; according to a survey by Hotwire 47% of internet users have dropped brands that did not fit with their values.

Whatever their values are, consumers want transparency when they’re shopping. They want to know a product’s origins, where it came from and how it was made. Brands and products that have strong, authentic stories and are transparent about their methods are the ones that customers will buy into in the years to come as they look to align themselves with like-minded communities and labels they can trust.

For more information on Autumn Fair’s commitment to sustainability, head to our Power of One page, and don’t forget to keep up to date with all the latest retail tips with our expert webinars.

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