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Today’s shoppers want retailers to invest more in sustainability—how it drives purchase decisions

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Public Relations

With 59 percent of shoppers making it a priority to live a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, new research findings from integrated sales and marketing services firm Acosta demonstrate how consumers plan to take more actions with sustainability in mind.

“Consumers are continuing to place an emphasis on sustainability when making purchasing decisions, showing that eco-friendly lifestyles are here to stay,” said Colin Stewart, executive vice president, business intelligence at Acosta, in a news release. “Retailers have an opportunity and responsibility to think through their environmental footprint and deliver value in ways that matter increasingly more to their customers.”

The firm’s newly released report, Sustainability Impact on Purchase Behavior, reveals consumer preferences for sustainability initiatives among retailers—and highlights a shift in purchase behaviors to support these efforts.

Today’s shoppers want retailers to invest more in sustainability—how it drives purchase decisions

Environmental concerns

  • More than half of shoppers (56 percent) are very concerned about the future of the environment. This sentiment often drives what products they purchase.
  • Seventy-five percent of millennials say sustainability is very/somewhat important when buying consumer packaged goods.
  • Four in 10 shoppers are more concerned about sustainability now than they were pre-COVID-19.

Today’s shoppers want retailers to invest more in sustainability—how it drives purchase decisions

Lifestyle changes

  • Shoppers are making the effort to live eco-friendlier lifestyles.
    • Eighty percent have made it a priority to reduce, reuse and recycle products and packaging.
    • Sixty-three percent are more likely to seek out food and beverage products that are minimally processed.
    • Sixty percent are paying more attention to product packaging and its impact on the environment.
    • Older shoppers (Boomers+) are more likely to recycle, while younger shoppers (Gen Z and Millennials) are more likely to modify their buying habits.

Today’s shoppers want retailers to invest more in sustainability—how it drives purchase decisions

Product purchase behaviors

  • Eighty-five percent of those who buy green products will always or most likely buy them in the future.
  • The top sustainable products purchased in the last year include fresh produce (60 percent), cleaning products (44 percent), and eggs (43 percent).
  • Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, such as plant-based meat alternatives (81 percent), beauty and personal care items (80 percent), dairy and dairy alternatives (78 percent), and meat/poultry (74 percent).

Retailer responsibility

  • Consumers agree retailers have a responsibility to the environment and communities in which they serve.
    • Only about 1-in-3 shoppers are noticing sustainability efforts by retailers and manufacturers on a regular basis.
    • Sixty-five percent would like to see companies putting more investment into sustainability.

Today’s shoppers want retailers to invest more in sustainability—how it drives purchase decisions

Download the full report here.

Acosta’s Sustainability Impact on Purchase Behavior report was gathered via online surveys using the company’s proprietary shopper community, conducted in October 2021.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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