Sustainability-conscious shopping is still on the rise, despite the global cost of living crisis, according to a new report.
The report conducted by tech giant Shopify revealed that consumers are generally still prioritising green products despite inflation and other economic pressures afflicting global markets.
The worldwide survey of 24,000 consumers and 9,000 businesses undertaken in 2022 found 62% of shoppers said they wouldn’t cut down on purchasing sustainable products and services despite ongoing economic uncertainty. 82% of merchants surveyed said they were confident sustainability measures were contributing to improved company performance.
The report also found 54% claimed to be shopping sustainably by choosing retailers that offer carbon-neutral shipping, for example. Consumers were proactively changing their behaviours to seek planet-positive options, with 25% looking for products that are recyclable, feature eco-friendly packaging or are locally sourced.
Younger consumers were by far the most climate-conscious, with 59% of Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) and 61% (born between 1981 and 1996) of millennials claiming to shop sustainably.
The interest in green products is on the rise against the backdrop of a third of consumers globally and 42% in the UK revealing they are curbing spending due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Almost half of those surveyed were willing to pay extra to cut carbon, and 26% claimed retailers that stood by their values have a better chance of retailing loyalty despite the cost-of-living crisis. However, businesses warned that cost concerns remained a significant barrier to the broader rollout of green products and practices.
Shopify’s survey found that 40% of businesses with between one and 50 employees see funding green schemes as a “real obstacle” to progress while 48% of larger firms – those of between 501 and 1,000 staff shared the same sentiments.
Bigger firms were also found to be the most likely to see the current economic landscape as a chance to accelerate sustainability programs – with 46% planning to invest more into their green initiatives.
“This report shows climate consciousness is driving purchasing decisions, even in challenging economic times,” said Stacy Kauk, head of sustainability at Shopify. “For both business and the climate, it’s in everyone’s interest to implement practices like carbon-neutral shipping and support for emerging sustainability solutions. This needs to be a collaboration between merchants, buyers, and the broader commerce community.”
James Trippett, founder and managing director at eCommerce agency By Association Only, added: “Taking action on climate must come first,” he said. Crafting compelling stories, alongside bespoke experiences that encourage consumers to engage in sustainable activity, will be essential in a climate-conscious world.”
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