80% of shoppers ‘environmentally friendly’

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A new report into sustainability and what it means for shoppers highlights a range of opportunities for retailers wishing to target the 80% of shoppers who view themselves as ‘environmentally friendly’.


A new survey of over 1,000 adult UK shoppers has revealed that the overwhelming majority – 80% – view themselves as ‘environmentally friendly’ and that environmental issues affect their buying decisions in-store.

The survey was carried out by shopper research specialist Shoppercentric and discovered that 82% take environmental credentials as highlighted on product labels into consideration when making purchasing decisions.

The ‘Window On… Shoppers and Sustainability’ study reveals that being ‘green’ has become the norm with a sizable 59% even claiming to actively avoid particular types of packaging.

Interestingly, those aged 75+ are displaying more environmentally-friendly behaviour than the younger generations. For example, 58% of this group will try to choose products packaged in an environmentally friendly way compared with just 40% of 18-24-year olds. Additionally, 92% of over-75s would like to see paper bags replace plastic for fresh produce vs 71% of 18-24-year olds.

When it comes to what would make shoppers buy more sustainable goods, the majority – 64% – said price parity with standard products would help, while 47% said that they’d purchase more sustainable goods if they were easier to locate in-store. There were also concerns expressed by shoppers over the quality of environmentally friendly products, with 34% of shoppers stating that “reassurance that these types of products were as good as standard ones” would encourage them to change over to sustainable goods.

Finally, almost a quarter of shoppers (24%) said that more awareness of the impact of buying sustainable products and knowing which stores sell them would influence their spending.

Packaging remains the key focus for shoppers with 29% saying want to buy packaging-free loose fruit and veg, 42% saying they tried to avoid single-use plastics in general, 43% seeking easier-to-recycle packaging and around two-thirds of all shoppers looking for a complete ban on non-recyclable packaging to “take the decision out of their hands completely”.

How can retailers win shoppers’ hearts ethically?
  • Enable shoppers to buy loose fruit and veg to reduce plastic waste – 29% say that they always look to make their purchases this way.
  • Try to avoid single use plastic in general – a preference for 42% of shoppers.
  • Look to use easy-to-recycle packaging options – chosen frequently by 43% of shoppers.
  • Work towards banning non-recyclable packaging – a desire for two-thirds of shoppers who want the choice taken out of their hands completely.