Consumers of the Western countries are taking sustainability more seriously

    28 Jun 2021

    The trend towards purchasing products in sustainable packaging will intensify as consumers around the world increasingly think about environmental and sustainability issues.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced consumers to reconsider their attitude towards sustainable development and reflect on the environmental, social, and business impact of shopping (ESG). Despite the significant impact of coronavirus infection on consumer experience in the retail segment, offline shopping remains the most popular among shoppers who shop every day. These trends point to the return of shoppers’ lives in the wake of the pandemic, according to PwC’s Global Consumer Survey.

    Like many other industries, retail has had to transform itself completely to meet new customer needs. According to the study, COVID-19 has shaped new categories of consumers that will create long-term trends in consumer attitudes and behavior.

    In particular, consumers who now work primarily from home prefer a more digital and greener lifestyle than consumers working from the office.

    In just a six-month period, from the time the first Pulse survey was conducted in October 2020 to when the second Pulse survey was conducted in March 2021, consumers evolved to be even more digital and eco-friendly. They also reported being more price-conscious, healthy, data-conscious, and local.

    Remote employees tend to spend more money across all product categories included in the study. 64% of home-based consumers and 55% of office-based consumers prefer to order food online. If the trend to work from home continues, it could have a significant impact on retailers amid projected declines in physical store traffic, the survey notes.

    Younger consumers are more likely to shop online. 35% of Gen Zers and 43% of Millennials are more likely than older shoppers to make daily or weekly purchases via mobile apps.

    “COVID-19 has not affected the purchasing habits of the younger generation,” the report said. “In the near future, young people will spend more than their parents and grandparents.”

    Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) cited adherence to “stringent health and safety measures” as the first or second most important shopping criteria. These consumers are also willing to pay more for healthier and more environmentally friendly products.

    About half of consumers (45%) in the Asia Pacific are more likely to shop in brick-and-mortar stores than consumers in Western countries, and amid the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, there are fewer concerns about public health and safety.

    At the same time, 60% of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region and 61% in Africa and the Middle East consciously buy goods in environmentally friendly packaging or with minimal packaging. This is more than in other regions of the world.

    “The desire to save the planet has traditionally been associated with European consumer sentiment, but our research shows that since the pandemic, consumers around the world are starting to pay more attention to sustainability issues,” notes PwC.

    Thus, 55% of respondents buy products from companies with a clearly defined policy in the field of environmental protection, and 54% prefer products in environmentally friendly packaging. Consumers are also willing to pay more for healthier, locally sourced, and green packaging, whether they shop online or in-store.

    As part of the study, a survey was conducted of more than 8.7 thousand people in 22 countries and regions (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Middle East, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam). Respondents have reached the age of 18 and have made online purchases at least once in the past year.

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