According to Capgemini, 79% of consumers say that they are changing their purchase preferences and behavior based on sustainability. COVID-19 has increased consumer awareness and commitment to buying sustainably. 67% say that they will be more cautious about the scarcity of natural resources due to the crisis. Meanwhile 65% say that they will be more mindful about the impact of their overall consumption in the “new normal”.
Sustainability concerns are influencing consumer behavior
Sustainability concerns are now influencing consumer behavior among more than half of the population. 57% of consumers in the 18-24 age group have switched to lesser known brands because they were sustainable. In addition, more than half of consumers (52%) say that they share an emotional connection with products or organizations that they perceive as sustainable.
“There is definitely a change that has taken place in the world in consumers. Specifically, the younger generations – such as Gen Z – are really starting to take decisions based on sustainability. Millennials are also sustainability oriented, but they still struggle sometimes to act upon that. But I think Gen Z is much more likely to actually change their behaviors,” says Eelco Smit, senior director sustainability at Philips.
A knowledge gap
There is a gap between what consumers think they know and what they actually know about sustainability. 78% of consumers are not aware that it takes 1,000 liters of water to produce a chocolate bar and 68% are not aware that an average burger results in more emissions than driving 15 kilometers in a large car. Nearly 68% of consumers who purchases these products are willing to purchase a more sustainable product once they were made aware of the sustainability issues. This highlights the need for more sustainability-related information to be available for consumers. Retailers and manufacturers also believe that shoppers know more than they do. 65% of executives say their consumers are very much aware of their sustainability initiatives. However, 49% of consumers say they do not have any information to verify the sustainability claims of products. Furthermore, 44% say they do not trust product sustainability claims.
Leading the way
One of the sectors leading they way with sustainability is the fashion sector. The proportion of sustainable fashion in collections varies considerably from one retailer to the next. For example, C&A, H&M and Inditex (Zara) are among the top four users of organic cotton.
The effects of COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has heightened consumer preferences for health and safety practices. Earlier research from Capgemini on impact on consumer behavior due to COVID-19 highlighted that 77% of consumers will be more cautious about cleanliness, health, and safety in the post-pandemic era; and 62% of consumers will shift to brands and retailers who continue to exhibit higher levels of product safety.