Number of UK consumers willing to pay more for eco-friendly products triples in 17 months

Number of UK consumers willing to pay more for eco-friendly products triples in 17 months
All new M&S stores will now have ‘green' clauses as standard to better manage a building's environmental performance

By Michael Somerville - 12:16PM - Thu 22nd August 2013

Consumers are increasingly shifting towards an eco-friendly world at the cash register, according to a survey from Nielsen, a leading global insight provider on what consumers watch and buy.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behaviour, which surveyed more than 29,000 internet respondents across 58 countries, shows that one in four UK consumers are choosing more environmentally-friendly products despite their higher price. In a similar study from Nielsen 17 months earlier, just 8 per cent said they’d buy the eco-friendly option if it was more expensive.

The definition of “eco-friendly” was left up to the interpretation of consumers, with no mention of specific terms such as Fairtrade or Organic included in the survey. Indian and Vietnamese consumers are the most likely (both 71 per cent) to choose more eco-friendly options, despite the extra cost. European nations (37 per cent) are not as keen to buy environmentally friendly products and are below the global average of 46 per cent.

Marks and Spencer was recognised as the most sustainable business this year and is aiming to be the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015.

“The increasing prevalence to pay more for eco-friendly versions of products is down to factors such as greater availability and improved marketing to consumers,” said Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins. “The latter contributes to better awareness and education about such products and helps compensate for any perceived quality trade-off between eco-friendly and standard versions. This shift is particularly admirable considering the backdrop of worries regarding the economy and squeezed household incomes.”

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