Over half of the Australian shoppers recently surveyed by Monash University say sustainability is an important factor when making a retail purchase.
Despite the increases to our cost of living, Monash Business School’s Australian Consumer and Retail Studies (ACRS) latest ‘Retail Sustainability Spotlight’ finds that consumers are becoming more conscious of what they buy, voting for sustainable products with their wallets.
“The most interesting finding is the difference between how various age groups – particularly younger and older shoppers – differ in their views and the magnitude of their behaviours towards sustainability,” says ACRS Research and Strategy Director Stephanie Atto.
“Younger consumers, 18 to 34 years of age, are significantly more willing to pay for ethically produced products, as well as products made from recycled materials and packaged in recyclable materials.
“They also take public transport, buy second-hand products, and recommend eco-friendly products to friends, family and peers more than other age groups.
“Older Australian shoppers, aged 55 and over, tend to bring their own shopping bags to stores, recycle product waste, buy locally sourced or produced products, and compost food waste significantly more than other age groups.”
Grocery and related products, and apparel such as clothing, footwear and accessories, are the most common retail purchases among Australian shoppers.
Ms Atto says quality and longevity were notable factors in purchasing behaviour.
“The sustainable factors that are most important to Australians when making a retail purchase are durability (85%) and repairability (73%),” she says.
“Consumers also felt it was an important factor if products are locally produced (64%), ethically produced (62%) and packaged in recyclable materials (59%).
“This can be seen in companies’ efforts to make sustainability a priority and make it easier for consumers to make good consumption choices.
“While sustainability perceptions and practices may differ amongst shoppers, the positive shifts in attitudes and behaviours of government, businesses and individuals are a step in the right direction to pave the way to a better future for all.”