Rise of the Eco-Conscious Customer and the Impact on Retail

July 25, 20193min

A majority of young British customers say they would reconsider their spending behaviours if retailers were better at communicating the environmental impact of their purchases.

In new research from inRiver, 1,500 UK consumers between the ages of 16-44 were quizzed on sustainable shopping and buying preferences, and 69 percent said product information detailing the sustainability and environmental impact would make them more likely to purchase.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of people who would purchase products from abroad if they were a cheaper price said they would reconsider this if retailers shared more data and product content about the environmental impact of delivery.

This 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 £20bn a year, providing consumers with a greater awareness of the environmental implications of deliveries and returns could save businesses millions while having a positive impact on the environment

One-fifth of consumers said they only buy sustainable products. Overall, when assessing the key factors considered when committing to a purchase, sustainable packaging (six percent) and materials (six percent), ethical production (five percent), and carbon footprint of delivery (four 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, as 63 percent stated they would stop using a brand due to its detrimental impact on the environment. Moreover, just under 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 would buy these products, but would be unwilling to pay more.

Steve Gershik, CMO at inRiver said: “These findings attest to the importance of environmental considerations for today’s savvy consumers. 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.”

Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Experienced Irish journalist and former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with Customer Experience Magazine, the UK's premier online source for Customer Experience news, features, and opinion, along with its sister site, CXM World.

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