A survey commissioned by Hearts and Science has laid out the extent to which consumers claim to be environmentally conscious.
The YouGov research of 2,000 UK adults found that 52% of us inform our purchase decisions based on brands’ eco-credentials – with 21% actively ceasing the purchase of a specific brand or product over environmental concerns.
Produced on behalf of the agency’s Forces of Change report, the study serves as a wake-up call for marketers chasing the green pound, no longer a niche concern but a prerequisite for the majority of consumers.
The degree to which eco-credentials motivate purchase considerations varies by sector, with 36% of shoppers indicating that they have foregone particular food and drink brands over the issue, while 33% have shaken up purchases of household essentials to reduce their environmental impact.
The importance of sustainability also makes its presence felt in other categories such as home electronics, where 15% have boycotted particular brands. Sportswear and furniture categories have also been affected, with 12% voting with their wallets.
On the flipside, brands that have nurtured their eco-credentials are now reaping the rewards, with 52% of all consumers swayed by sustainability issues at the till – a proportion that rises to 65% for household essentials and 62% for food and drink categories.
Overall 22% of respondents reported regularly selecting eco-friendly products over their less sustainable equivalents, while 48% said they did so occasionally.
Simon Carr, chief strategy officer at Hearts & Science, said: “UK shoppers are already voting with their wallets when it comes to eco-friendly products. It’s not just that they’ll choose brands that have the best green credentials, but they’ll actively stop buying those that don’t.
“Brands are having to be smarter about demonstrating their concern for the environment and can no longer get away with paying lip service. Savvy consumers want to see evidence that their shopping habits aren’t hurting the world around them, or they’ll go elsewhere.”