In numbers: How is the cost of living crisis impacting consumer attitudes towards sustainability?
According to the UK's Office For National Statistics, 87% of British adults are reporting an increase in the cost of living - largely due to rising food and energy prices. How will this impact the sustainability of consumers' shopping habits and daily routines?
That has been the question posed in several recent pieces of research. On the one hand, products and services marketed as sustainable or ethical are often more expensive than average. Clean technologies like heat pumps and electric cars may cut operational costs in the long-run but are yet to reach price parity with boilers and internal combustion engine vehicles for the upfront cost. And, when it comes to smaller ticket items, costs are often similarly varied for more and less sustainable variants.
This could put a spanner in the works for the long-observed trend towards consumers pressing brands for more sustainable products and services and more transparency around environmental and social impact.
On the other hand, many behaviours that will cut costs will also cut carbon and waste. These include driving less, being more energy efficient at home, reducing food waste, buying second-hand and repairing items.
Here, we round up all the key facts and stats from three pieces of recent research exploring how the cost of living crisis will likely impact consumer attitudes towards sustainable products, services and habits. This article forms part of edie’s Engagement Week 2022 editorial campaign.
The below facts and stats are from food and beverage consultancy Levercliff. Levercliff surveyed 1,001 adults in the UK between October 2021 and March 2022.
The below facts and stats are from business management consultancy the New West End Consultancy (NWEC). Opinium polled 2,000 adults in the UK earlier this month, in research also supported by Grosvenor Property UK and Bottletop.
The below facts and stats are from professional services provider Accenture. Accenture polled 2,000 adults in the UK, gathering information about their shopping habits and environmental attitudes pre-Covid-19 and in 2022.