The latest Consumer Barometer study shows that not only is awareness for sustainability has become commonplace, but consumers demand transparency around the sustainability of products. The price of goods is and remains the critical variable; if sustainability results in a higher price, good intentions may not translate into buying a sustainable product. 

Purchasing and consumption behavior of consumers are an important issue and those in the consumer and retail industry must understand these changes. What are customers able and willing to do when it comes to sustainability? What changes are they willing to make? 

In the newest edition of the Consumer Barometer, we examine these questions with a survey to 500 consumers each from Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and Germany. Here are some of the key findings:

Sustainability is important for the vast majority

  • Eighty-six percent of respondents consider sustainability important or very important. The figure is particularly high in Italy (92 percent).
  • Only 15 percent state that they feel a social pressure to engage in sustainable choices and activities. Respondents from Switzerland state this more frequently than respondents from Germany, Italy and the UK.
  • Those who consider sustainability to be relevant cite a balanced climate for future generations and the protection of personal health as the main reasons. 
  • More than half of the participants from the UK are not sure how they can make a helpful contribution to sustainability.
  • Budget plays an important role in sustainability, especially in Germany. Seventy-one percent of German respondents for whom sustainability is important or very important see a challenge in having to pay more money for sustainable products.

High willingness to change behavior

  •  Sixty-six percent of respondents are prepared to pay a premium for local meat, dairy products and fruit and vegetables.
  • Sixty-six percent of those surveyed are willing to forego foods that are currently not in season for the sake of sustainability. Fifty-six percent can imagine reducing their meat consumption for the sake of sustainability.

Desire for additional information

  •  Forty-eight percent would like to learn more about a brand's sustainability efforts in reports from sustainability associations.
  • Transparency about the company's consumption of resources (48 percent) is ranked highest in importance, as well as information about the company's internal recycling rate of raw materials (42 percent) and the use of renewable energies (41 percent).
  • For individual sustainability, the most important issues are recycling, fair working conditions, no child labor and ensuring animal welfare. 

About the Consumer Barometer - Issue 02/2022

Three times a year, the Consumer Barometer published by IFH KÖLN and KPMG in Germany highlights current developments, trends and drivers in the retail and consumer goods market in select markets. 


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