Price and convenience aren’t the only purchase drivers anymore; consumers want to buy ethically and sustainably.
As the global retail industry remains in a state of flux, new research by Monash University reveals an increasing number of consumers prefer – and are prepared to pay more for – products that use sustainable or recycled materials.
Shoppers today are more likely to buy from a brand or retailer that aligns with their personal values. In fact, consumers believe their shopping habits have a significant impact on the world.
These attitudes give rise to a new type of 21st century individual, the post-growth consumer, according to lead researcher Dr Eloise Zoppos from Monash Business School’s Australian Consumer and Retail Studies unit (ACRS).
“Consumers today find less joy in excessive spending, and choose to spend money on experiences rather than material goods. The modern shopper is constantly searching for meaning, not only in how they live, but also how they consume,” Dr Zoppos said.
In order to remain relevant, retailers need to become an ally to the new consumer by enabling them to make purchases in alignment with their values.
Research shows that 91 per cent of consumers want brands to use sustainable ingredients or material, and 92 per cent believe sustainable business practices should be standard. More than half of people think it’s important that products are fully made from recycled materials.
Two-thirds of consumers are willing to splurge on products from a sustainable or socially conscious brand (this rises to 73 per cent for millennials), while 70 per cent will pay more for products that don’t infringe on human rights.
“In the past two years, there’s been an 11 per cent increase in ethical cosmetics sales. This is primarily driven by millennials who are demanding more ethical products from the beauty industry,” Dr Zoppos said.
“There’s also been a decline in the sale of leather shoes and, in the same period, a 60 per cent increase in the number of women buying second-hand clothing.”
The report follows the presentation by Dr Zoppos at the World Retail Congress 2019 in Amsterdam.