Consumer awareness surrounding sustainability has been on an upward trajectory for some time, and new data shows that the appetite for eco-friendly products persists even in an inflationary economic environment.
Shopping rewards app Shopkick, which surveyed more than10,000 individuals across the U.S. from March 24 through March 30, found that 63 percent consider a product’s sustainability profile as much as its affordability when making a purchase.
The majority of American shoppers have been privy to conversations surrounding climate change, and have been inundated with messaging from brands, media outlets and environmental groups about the importance of conscious consumption. Seventy-two percent said they are familiar with the sustainable product alternatives available at retail, and more than half (55 percent) said they consider a brand’s sustainability practices when they make a purchase. Most consumers (86 percent) said they want companies to offer more environmentally-friendly options across their product lines.
Consumers have become willing to vote with their wallets for brands that align with their values, and sustainability has become a sales-driver, rather than a perk, in recent seasons. Nearly two-fifths of Shopkick respondents said they were willing to pay more for sustainable products, and of that contingent, 70 percent said they would pay up to $5 more than unsustainable market alternatives.
What’s more, a lack of focus on environmental impact could come back to bite brands in the long run. Only about half of those surveyed said they would still buy from a brand that wasn’t committed to sustainability, and 23 percent said they’d hold off on purchasing until the label produces a greener alternative. Nearly one-fifth said they would abandon a brand that didn’t share their environmental outlook and switch to one that aligns more closely.
The shift could be taking place quicker than many companies anticipated. Two out of every five shoppers surveyed said they purchase more sustainable products now than they did just one year ago. They also said they plan to ramp up conscious consumption over the course of the next 12 months.
While those attitudes persist across retail channels, from e-commerce to malls and big box stores, a sizable majority (78 percent) of those surveyed said groceries were the “most important” product category to consider when it comes to sustainable consumption. Over half of the respondents said they’re attempting to offset their single-use plastic intake by purchasing durable, recyclable solutions like steel straws and glass Tupperware, along with products with less wasteful packaging. Across the e-commerce sector, brands are turning to recyclable and biodegradable packaging options, from compostable poly-bags made from biopolymers to fully recyclable mailers.
Shoppers are also keen to support brands that they believe are responsible producers, with three-fifths citing a desire to reduce production waste through their purchasing decisions. Globally, shoppers are displaying a greater affinity for semi-personalized, made-to-order products that eliminate overproduction. Apparel brands are increasingly looking to on-demand strategies to cut down on waste, manufacturing only what they’ve already sold.