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Consumers Don’t Want to Choose Between Sustainability and Convenience

Changing consumers’ purchasing habits is not quite so simple…

Brands from all sectors and price-points are vying for the best eco-credentials. Whether it’s Nike or Adidas, KFC or McDonalds, every brand is trying to prove to consumers that their brand is sustainable and taking the environment seriously.

When and if done authentically, this is obviously great news. The climate crisis is well and truly upon us, and brands have a huge role to play when it comes to mitigating damage. But it seems that they are missing a crucial step.

While marketers are trying to convey how sustainable their brands are, they are perhaps overestimating its importance to consumers that still see convenience and price as more important at the all-important buying stage.

It is clear that consumers care about the climate, but they are not willing to sacrifice in other areas to buy sustainably. According to new research where10,000 people were surveyed globally, 81% see themselves as eco-friendly but just 50% say they only buy products from brands that try to be eco-friendly.

It gets worse. The research also found that while 92% of respondents believe the way we treat our planet now will have a large impact on the future, 48% also say that although they know they should care more about the environment through their purchasing habits, convenience takes priority.

It also found 84% of UK consumers say that being environmentally friendly is important to them, yet 68% cannot name a single environmentally friendly brand. Which just shows that people like the idea of something more than the effort to make that change. Brands need to provide alternatives that require no added inconvenience or cost, which of course is not so simple, someone must pay somewhere along the line.

Only those who identify as being “passionate about sustainability” are willing to pay more for products or services from companies that are more environmentally friendly. And only up to 15% more at that.

Marketers are facing two issues. Firstly, creating products at a price-point consumers are used to and are also sustainable, and secondly getting outside the bubble of eco warriors to portray their brand as being environmentally friendly.

There is a disconnect that exists for most consumers between the convenience they want and their expectations around sustainability. Moreover, it appears that customers aren’t going to go out of their way to buy eco-friendly brands, which means marketers need to do more to differentiate. Marketers clearly have a long way to go when it comes to convincing the average consumer to opt for sustainability over convenience. The fact is, they should not have to.