As eCommerce rises, U.S. and U.K. consumers prove sustainability practices influence buying decisions
New York, NY – July 14, 2020 – CGS, a global provider of business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services, today announced the findings from its annual 2020 Retail and Sustainability Survey. CGS surveyed more than 2,000 individuals (ages 18-65+) from the U.S. and U.K. on how sustainable products and business practices are driving their fashion, apparel and footwear buying preferences. Although many consumers have drastically changed their shopping habits since the start of the pandemic, sustainability continues to be an important driver for brand loyalty and pricing.
Key findings from the survey include:
The U.K. is home to more eco-friendly consumers, but both U.S. and U.K. consumers are willing to pay higher prices for sustainable options
The sustainability movement has taken the world by force, and both U.S. and U.K. consumers are factoring it into their retail shopping. Consumers in both regions identified a number of ways brands could adopt sustainable practices, including waste reduction and adopting ethical practices. In the U.K., 61 percent of consumers believe that sustainability is at least somewhat important, compared with 51 percent of U.S. consumers.
Although more people in the U.K. rank sustainability as important, consumers in the U.S. (56 percent) and U.K. (59 percent) align in their willingness to pay more for sustainable options. Beyond this, gender also factors into sustainable shopping across both regions: 26 percent of women said that they are willing to pay 25 percent more for sustainable goods, compared to 21 percent of men. It is clear brands must demonstrate a commitment to eco-conscious practices to win over customers across both regions. Doing this will not only reinforce brand loyalty, but also give companies an opportunity to raise prices and meet consumer demand for sustainable items.
U.K. and U.S. consumers agree on more transparency, but not on government oversight
Many retailers have embraced eco-friendly materials and practices in recent years, but their actions might not be reaching customers. The majority of U.S. consumers (50 percent) and U.K. consumers (57 percent) believe fashion, apparel and footwear brands do not offer enough visibility into their sustainability practices. Although consumers from both regions are aligned on the need for more brand transparency, they disagree on who is accountable for ensuring this. U.K. consumers were more supportive of having the government take a greater role in regulating sustainable practices, while U.S. consumers are looking for brands to take the lead on sustainable action.
Sustainability will be a major factor in the eCommerce race
As consumers consider how comfortable they will be returning to stores post-COVID-19, many feel eCommerce is the only suitable option in the near-term. More than 40 percent of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. said that they plan to exclusively shop online even as stores reopen; and 14 percent will only consider shopping at stores with curbside pickup options. With eCommerce on the rise, brands must take a closer look at their backend sustainability practices, such as shipping and packaging. According to the data, 47 percent of U.S. respondents and 52 percent of U.K. respondents consider whether a retailer’s shipping and packaging is eco-friendly when making a purchase at least some of the time. As more consumers adjust their shopping preferences post COVID-19, brands and retailers should re-evaluate their end-to-end sustainability practices – from material sourcing to product packaging. This will be a major component of the customer experience and a way to ensure brand loyalty.
“The research confirms that the shift in retail we were already beginning to see before the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating,” said Paul Magel, President, Business Applications division, CGS. “As more consumers opt for eCommerce, retailers have transformed at record rates during the height of the crisis and consumers will continue to expect the same level of service and experience going forward. Retailers and brands will need to make sure sustainability efforts don’t get left behind during the shift. Consumers will continue to prioritize this, especially as they shop online more frequently. They are paying attention to products as well as shipping and packaging methods for sustainability.”
The CGS BlueCherry Enterprise Suite provides clients with comprehensive digital supply chain management solutions, available both in the cloud and on-premises, to drive their fundamental business processes. With a focus on the needs of high-growth organizations operating in consumer lifestyle products, retail and apparel, BlueCherry is a unified platform that provides supply chain visibility with the latest digital technologies. The BlueCherry Suite addresses the needs of the end-to-end supply chain, from planning and product development to manufacturing and sales.
About the survey:
Google Surveys, a leading market research tool, conducted this survey of 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 U.K. consumers in May 2020. The infographic is available here.