More than half of greenhouse gasses are the result of household consumption and this is something that huge numbers of consumers have become increasingly aware of in recent years. This understanding has triggered a shift in consumer behaviours that has forced many businesses to start taking sustainability more seriously, in order to retain customer loyalty and improve brand credibility. The sustainability trend has really begun to gather momentum in recent years but what can brand research into consumer behaviours tell us about where this is likely to go next?
Sustainability is still a relatively recent trend
Many consumers are still getting used to making the shift away from detrimental environmental behaviours, such as daily use of single use plastics – but this is happening on a broad scale. More than two thirds of consumers, for example, now limit the amount of single use plastics in their everyday lives. Another big driver of the sustainability trend for brands has been the way in which consumer choices have changed. More than a third of respondents to one Deloitte survey said that they were now making different buying choices that were focused on choosing brands renowned for ethical values and practices. Including consuming fewer animal products and avoiding buying the same volume of new products as before.
The shift to a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle
It’s not just in small daily details where consumers are making significant changes but right throughout their lifestyles. Today, we are all much more aware that even small actions can make a difference – and much more likely to take them. That means a shift towards a lifestyle where waste, energy and car use are beginning to decrease overall and individual consumers are looking for more opportunities to buy eco-friendly products and support brands that are looking to make a difference. Making these changes will naturally lead to more sustainable choices overall for many consumers – and those that are proud of what they’ve achieved are likely to want to share it with others. Today, the effect of word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly powerful and that includes when it comes to recommending those brands that are prioritising sustainability.
Not all consumers are getting involved
Some consumers are simply not interested in sustainability and there could be many different reasons why they are not keen to engage with this trend. It may be, for example, that they simply don’t have enough information about the impact of the changes they can make – and the consequences of not making them. Other consumers feel like some shifts are too expensive or complicated or that a more sustainable way of living may just be too time-consuming for their lifestyle or unavailable in their local area. However, despite the obvious presence of these consumers today, it’s not certain that they will make up such a large proportion of the market in years to come.
The bottom line
Sustainability is a big trend in consumer behaviour today and likely to continue to influence the choices people make, and the brands they invest in, for the foreseeable future. The best way to take advantage of this is to understand your customer, and what sustainability means to them. By understanding this and their pain points regarding sustainable consumption, a more valuable and convenient service can be provided to them, ultimately creating a competitive advantage over other brands that don’t prioritise sustainability and left behind by consumers that want their shopping habits to be environmentally friendly.