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Brits seek greater transparency around sustainable purchases

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

30 Jul 2019

Young British consumers admit they would reconsider purchasing behaviours if retailers were better at communicating the environmental impact of their purchases, according to new research from InRiver, which provides product information management.

According to the research conducted amongst 1,500 UK consumers between the ages of 16-44 by Savanta, 62 percent of young consumers would be deterred from making a purchase if the environmental footprint was transparent.

Product information detailing the sustainability and environmental impact would make 7 in 10 (69 percent) British consumers more likely to purchase, with 66 percent of shoppers who stated that they would purchase products from abroad if they were a cheaper price adding that they would reconsider their purchases if retailers shared more data and product content about environmental impact of delivery.

The research reveals that eco-conscious consumerism is here for the long-haul and increased transparency would encourage 60 percent of buyers to reconsider the number of purchases they return. With the issue of ‘serial returners’ costing UK retailers an estimated 20 billion pounds a year, providing consumers with a greater awareness of the environmental implications of deliveries and returns could save businesses millions and have a positive impact on the environment as well.

New research reveals the impact of the rise of the eco-conscious consumer

One fifth (20 percent) of consumers said they only buy sustainable products and when assessing the key factors considered when committing to a purchase, sustainable packaging (6 percent) and materials (6 percent), ethical production (5 percent) and carbon footprint of delivery (4 percent) were all listed the most important, accounting for 21 percent in total. Unsurprisingly, however, price (41 percent) and quality (25 percent) dominated consumer preference as the key purchase drivers.

Eco factors are growing in importance for consumers the research adds, as 63 percent stated they’d stop using a brand due to its detrimental impact on the environment, and half of consumers (47 percent) would be willing to pay more for upcycled products or those made from recycled materials, such as Adidas’ 100 percent recyclable trainer. A further 43 percent noted that they would buy these products, but would be unwilling to pay more.

When it comes to evaluating environmentally-friendly purchases, consumers are consulting a variety of sources to judge whether or not a product is sustainable. With almost half looking at packaging materials (47 percent), and product information is also a significant influence (44 percent).

In addition, one quarter (25 percent) use a brand or retailers’ marketing and advertising as the measure of a products’ sustainability, with 17 percent looking to influencers. Gen Z (20 percent) and Millennials (18 percent) are the most receptive to messages around sustainable products.

“These findings attest to the importance of environmental considerations for today’s savvy consumers,” said Steve Gershik, chief marketing officer at InRiver in a statement. “Buyers want to know that the purchases they make and delivery methods they are sustainable, and are looking to retailers to support these choices. It’s up to businesses to harness this increasing trend and ensure the product information they provide gives consumers a clear picture of what to expect and the impact it may have.”

Image: courtesy of H&M - Conscious Collection