With consumer priorities constantly in flux, the Catalyst program – which tracks social and environmental concerns via Cint’s consumer network for digital market research – has found that while anxiety over COVID is falling, it is being replaced by mounting concern around the cost of living.
It’s worth asking ourselves, then, whether sustainability looks set to take a back seat; with consumers more likely in this challenging context, perhaps, to prioritize low prices over sustainable or ethical credentials.
According to the program’s most recent poll, while seven in ten say we must act now on the environment, even more than this say that eco-friendly products are over-priced; signalling a major potential barrier to the usage of products that are better for the environment.
This risk for sustainability-focused brands is further reinforced when we consider other behaviors, too. For instance, while our study reveals that nearly six in ten say they are more eco-friendly when it is easy and convenient, consumers also acknowledge they don’t want to compromise on quality to be more sustainable; with only four in ten believing this is an acceptable trade-off.
The latest poll did, however, underscore a desire to buy better when easy, and when it doesn’t mean a compromise on quality, nor a major increase in cost.
A key opportunity for eco-focused manufacturers appears to be to work with retailers to reinforce messaging and to aid discovery.
The study finds that most consumers rely on the stores where they usually shop to present them with eco-friendly options (52% in Australia and 55% in the UK). So major grocers, supermarkets and retailers have a unique and important role to play in enabling consumers to find the eco-friendly options they are looking for. This could be through allocating more shelf space, for instance, or providing compelling in-store signage to aid discovery.
With one in three consumers surveyed across the UK and Australian markets reporting that they are expecting to be spending more on eco-friendly products in the future, there remains a significant opportunity for eco-products to gain further market share, despite a complex and challenging marketplace.
It will be interesting to monitor this given the publicly stated commitments of many of the major supermarket chains to ‘green’ or eco-friendly business practices. Certainly, with sustainability a growing concern for global consumers, it seems a good move for retailers to support eco-friendly suppliers and brands. Arguably, this could distinguish these retailers from their competition in an increasingly competitive and cut-throat marketplace.
Cint, which is trusted by over 3,000 insight driven companies around the world, is providing respondents for Catalyst, an open-source research program investigating consumer concerns about social and environmental issues. The program is building a body of knowledge to fuel conversation, action and behavior change by supporting businesses with insights that fuel their own programs of action.
Read the full article produced by the Catalyst program here.