Sustainability & Consumer Behaviours: How to engage your audience

Sustainability & Consumer Behaviours: How to engage your audience

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Sustainability & Consumer Behaviours: How to engage your audience
We’ve created the Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study to help businesses lead effective change that resonates with and inspires consumers.

Our 2023 report is designed to track the environmental and social priorities, purchasing behaviours, engagement, and level of understanding of sustainability topics among consumers from 16 countries.

With an ever-increasing conversation around climate change and environmental concerns, this global study provides businesses with an excellent opportunity to focus their goals on sustainability and improve their future viability.

It’s becoming increasingly important for companies and businesses to address people’s anxieties and take the lead in creating a sustainable future. Consumers still feel like they can make a difference, but Mintel’s analysis of global trends found that they expect businesses to take responsibility for preventing further environmental damage. As consumers become savvier and aware of ‘greenwashing’, companies must demonstrate commitment to sustainability by making real changes within their industries to make a genuine impact and engage with their customers’ sustainability priorities. 66% of global consumers agree that they “would prefer for companies to reduce their own carbon emissions rather than use ‘Carbon Offsetting’ programs outside of their own area of business”.

Sustainability – How are consumers taking action?

Despite consumers’ awareness of environmental issues and the need for a more sustainable lifestyle, this has not necessarily translated into actionable behaviours. Although the majority of consumers in India claimed that living sustainably was their top priority, less than a third of Indians regularly practiced green behaviours in 2022. Only 15% of them were recycling waste, and only 17% were regularly commuting in an eco-friendly manner. This trend is seen globally, as only four in 10 Americans considered living sustainably to be a top personal priority, despite two-thirds of them having concerns about the climate crisis.

Mintel’s consumer analysis uncovered a range of factors behind consumers’ inactivity. Recent global economic crises have impacted consumer attitudes towards sustainability. In India, 68% of consumers reported that when choosing a product, an affordable price is more important than sustainability claims. In addition, 42% of Argentine consumers reported that cost was the biggest barrier to regularly using eco-friendly products. 

In many cases, consumers are more likely to engage with small-scale lifestyle changes and easily actioned sustainable practices. Generally, consumers tend to make changes that do not significantly affect their daily lives or consumption habits. In Ireland, 76% of consumers regularly recycle, and the same number of consumers in the UK take reusable bags when they go shopping to reduce waste. Inflationary pressures in Europe and North America will sustain these trends, and processes that are simple or frugal are likely to dominate going forward.

For businesses, the importance of sustainability is always increasing. But, with consumers’ priorities and expectations constantly changing, creating convincing sustainability messaging that appeals to audiences is an ongoing challenge. Our Global Outlook on Sustainability gives you the advantage of knowing what a wide range of consumers want, and how you can foster engagement. To receive the data and analysis you need to build a sustainable future.

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Sustainability – What are the biggest challenges for businesses?

Over the last few years, there has been a growing expectation for businesses to uphold tangible sustainable practices, and help make living sustainably an easy option for consumers. Now more than ever, it is vitally important for companies and brands to actively engage with consumers on sustainability issues. Almost half of Germans aged 16-24 say that showing that you care about the environment makes you look good, clearly indicating the strength an eco-friendly brand image.

Consumers are looking to brands to be the authority on environmental issues and to guide them on sustainable matters. There is a huge opportunity here for businesses to educate consumers on various sustainability concepts. In doing this, not only will they increase engagement, but also bridge knowledge gaps and make sustainable living a more attainable goal.

However, there are numerous challenges for businesses surrounding sustainability messaging. Mintel’s research found that a vast majority of UK consumers don’t trust retailers when they make sustainability claims. With so many retailers claiming to be sustainable, it is difficult for consumers to know who they can trust. Similarly, over half of Indian consumers believe that the majority of sustainability claims made by brands are false. To overcome these issues and build trust, businesses will need to be clear, honest, and transparent about their sustainability practices.

Mintel’s expert market analysts have helped businesses across the globe overcome challenges and grow through times of uncertainty. This instance is no different. 

Featuring fortified data from sources such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our global study provides the intelligence and tools you need to make informed, strategic decisions that will help you resonate with consumers. If you have specific questions about how sustainability will shape the future, we’re here to take the guesswork out of your process, solve your business challenges and help you move forward, faster and with confidence. 

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