How are consumers actually behaving when it comes to sustainability?

A survey of 2,500 people from global intelligence platform Streetbees shows that people might have good intentions but factors like cost still influence purchasing decisions.

18 June 2019
image credit: Getty Images

  • More than half of those surveyed said they had actively changed their shopping and eating habits to be more sustainable.
  • The common steps people have taken to live a sustainable life were reducing their plastic usage (27%), recycling (14%), buying natural and organic products (14%), shopping for more local products (13%), reusing products (11%) and checking labels (7%).
  • A striking 89% of consumers claim that they are willing to pay more for a sustainable product.
  • But for half of those surveyed cost was the biggest barrier to being more sustainable, followed by a lack of knowledge (10%) and low availability of products (9%).
  • A quarter felt most guilty about buying plastic products in terms of their environmental impact, while fast food and meat also fell into the top five remorse buys.
  • 79% of consumers claimed that they care about sustainability. However, it is not a conscious driver of purchase, according to survey. Just 39% stated sustainability was a factor when deciding what product/brand to buy when prompted and even fewer (4%) mentioned sustainability as a factor in their purchase decision.
  • Although 59% claimed they have changed their plastic behaviour, shopping and eating habits, in reality 60% were still purchasing products where they weren’t sure about their sustainability credentials.

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