Four in five shoppers willing to pay ‘sustainability premium’

16th May 2024


Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

After polling more than 20,000 consumers across 31 countries and territories, PwC found that shoppers are willing to pay 9.7% more on average for goods that meet environmental criteria, including locally-sourced or made from eco-friendly materials.

Willingness to pay this ‘sustainability premium’ could be explained by 85% of respondents reporting that they had experienced the disruptive effects of climate change in their daily lives first-hand.

The survey also found that 40% are assessing companies’ approach to production and recycling, with 38% seeking eco-friendly packaging, and 34% favouring firms making a positive impact on nature and water conservation.

Personal actions shoppers say they have taken include: making more considered purchases with the aim of reducing their overall consumption, eating different foods, and travelling less or differently, on 43%, 32% and 31%, respectively.

“Consumers are increasingly feeling the squeeze of inflation and rising prices in essential goods such as groceries, however, in that context, they are prioritising products that are sustainably produced and sourced,” said Sabine Durand-Hayes, global consumer markets leader at PwC France.

“Even as consumers look to cheaper, generic options for essentials, they nevertheless cite a willingness to pay 9.7% more for sustainability.”

Indeed, 31% of respondents cited inflation as the number-one risk to their country or territory, with 62% expecting groceries to represent their most significant expenditure increase.

Interestingly, the survey also found that social media’s prominence as a primary source of brand awareness and product consumption has surged, with 46% of consumers having purchased products directly through social media – up from 21% in 2019.

All the while, 67% use social media to discover new brands, 70% seek reviews to validate a company before making a purchase, and 41% have ben swayed by a celebrity or influencer when making a purchase.

“In the year ahead, companies must achieve a delicate balance between consumer affordability and environmental impact if they are to source and retain consumers,” Durand-Hayes continued.

“They will also need to bolster their digital engagement and service-delivery, particularly as more consumers purchase products directly through social media.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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