68% of global consumers expect businesses to solve sustainability issues


LONDON, June 24, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Globally, levels of consumer concern about the COVID-19 pandemic are moderating slightly, according to the seventh edition of the EY Future Consumer Index. Thirty-nine percent of the 14,047 consumers surveyed believe the health crisis will continue to impact their lives for at least 12 months, up from 40% in February 2021.

A key emerging trend is the prioritization of sustainability, which comes at a time when consumers are also reassessing other areas of their lives, including affordability. Most consumers (64%) plan to pay more attention to the environmental impact of what they consume, but 60% intend to focus more on value for money. This creates tension over who should pay for sustainability.

Sustainability gap between intention and action

Overall, 64% of consumers continue to spend more time at home than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Homes have become a hub from which people work, order deliveries, exercise and play, providing them with a huge opportunity to move towards sustainable choices that positively impact business. environment and society. Thirty-one percent of respondents say they now spend more on sustainable and better-for-the-environment products, and 64 percent are willing to behave differently if it benefits society.

However, 78% of consumers are concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their finances and 53% say price is a more important purchasing consideration than before the pandemic, threatening the longevity of positive attitudes towards sustainable behaviors. Rather than making large financial commitments to help achieve larger societal sustainability goals, many consumers pursue low-impact, no-cost actions that save them money. In fact, more than half of the people questioned (56%) say they mainly adopt sustainable behaviors if it saves them money, especially with regard to the main household consumption activities, in particular the conservation of the energy (85%), recycling or reuse of packaging after use (83%) and bringing reusable shopping bags to the store (83%).

Who will pay for sustainability?

This lack of financial commitment means that most consumers (68%) rely on companies to act as leaders in driving positive social and environmental outcomes. Consumers believe that companies have the capacity to have a greater impact through processes and innovation focused on sustainability and market transformation: 28% believe that large multinational companies should reduce the waste generated during production and 25% believe that companies should reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The EY Future consumption index also notes that there is a gap in education for sustainable development among consumers: 61% say they need more information to make better choices when shopping. This reveals increased confidence and a need for transparency on the part of consumer product companies and retailers to help guide and guide consumers in their sustainable choices. As a result, sustainable products and services face issues of perception, with many consumers being discouraged by concerns about poor quality (67%) and high prices (66%), and lack of confidence due to “ environmental bleaching ”past and suspected misleading marketing (60%).

Kristina Rogers, EY’s Global Consumer Leader, says:

“Companies need to guide consumers to help bridge the gap between action and intention. To do this profitably, they will need to change their mindset, embrace sustainability to unlock value within their business, and find new ways to collaborate with suppliers, peers, competitors and consumers. themselves. It will also require transformation to evolve with the disruption of the marketplace, adapt to the changing consumer and deliver a better future for people and the planet. ”

Perceptions of sustainability vary by market

According to the Index, when asked what sustainability issues are of most personal concern to them, there is some disparity among consumers surveyed around the world: plastic waste is the biggest concern in the United States (62% ) and the UK (73%), while air pollution is the main concern in China and water pollution is highest in Brazil (93%). This indicates that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for companies and that they will need to take regional nuances into account when looking to tackle sustainability issues.

The latest edition of the EY Future Consumer Index is available at ey.com/futureconsumerindex7.

Notes to Editors

About EY

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This press release was issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization which also does not provide services to clients.

About the EY index of future consumers

The EY Future Consumer Index tracks changes in consumer sentiment and behavior across time horizons and global markets, identifying new consumer segments that are emerging. The index provides regular longitudinal indicators and a unique perspective on changes that are temporary reactions to the COVID-19 crisis, those that indicate more fundamental changes, and what consumers might look like after COVID-19. The seventh edition of EY’s Future Consumer Index surveyed 14,047 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand during the weeks of April 16 to May 10, 2021.

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