UK shoppers are seeking responsible and ethically sourced products despite the squeeze on finances, new data released today reveals.
Shopper research agency Shoppercentric found in its latest report ‘WindowOn the Considered Shopper’ that 83 per cent of consumers actively seek out responsible labels, a seven per cent rise on 2010, with free range labels the most popular among conscientious consumers as 34 per cent of 1,000 respondents look for the notice prior to purchase.
Fair Trade labels trailed behind with 29 per cent of shoppers searching for suitable products while growth on organic labels has plateaued at 21 per cent, the same as in 2010.
Consumers are encouraged to purchase ethically by a number of factors, with 73 per cent saying they would buy ethical goods if the price matched those of standard products, while 39 per cent would buy more if the goods were easier to locate in store.
Reassurance and ease are key contributors, explained Shoppercentric’s Managing Director, Danielle Pinnington.
She said: “There is no doubt shoppers have to be more considered in their shopping these days.
“The ‘have it all’ times have gone, and the ‘do I really need it’ days are here. Shoppers are being more prudent and responsible in their buying behaviour and as a result they are taking small steps towards becoming more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.
“The interesting thing is that shoppers don’t yet appear to be making that link themselves – for them, being environmentally friendly is more about what they buy, rather than how they buy and consume.
“This might feel like splitting hairs, but it’s a crucial point for retailers and brands and something that they could help develop more quickly.”
It is important to note that it is not only those unaffected by the economic downturn that can afford the luxury of responsible choices, the company warned, as 58 per cent of those who have had to make major changes to spending would still favour environmentally friendly products over alternatives if they were readily available.
So then, it is clear that retailers need to do more to entice eco-shoppers at a time when many are concerned over unnecessary waste.
Melissa Davis, Director of Sustainability Consultancy Truebranding explained: “Shoppercentric’s report highlights a key insight in today’s tough economy – that recession spending among consumers is closely aligned with responsible shopping behaviour.
“People are worried about waste; trying to do more to make their current purchases last, and it seems, consider ‘responsible’ products as better when faced with two similar products. The report raises timely questions for brand owners about how to communicate their sustainability credentials on the pack or shop fixture.”
Pinnington highlighted the opportunity available to retailers, explaining the importance of offering responsible products and the connection that must be made between being prudent and responsible shopping.
She added: “In doing so, there is a chance that the environmental agenda not only has more direct relevance to shoppers, but also starts to feel more accessible, every day, and top of mind – thereby raising the possibility that shopper behaviour and priorities can be shifted for the long term as a result.
“Feedback from our research also indicates that shoppers want to be responsible in their shopping but they expect more than just ‘ethical noise’ from retailers and brands – they need to demonstrate real commitment in this area.
“Today’s savvy shoppers are looking for companies to live and breathe responsibility through products and processes, rather than just referring to it in corporate PR campaigns.”