Blog>How the Cost of Living Crisis is Impacting Consumer Views on Sustainability

How the Cost of Living Crisis is Impacting Consumer Views on Sustainability

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With the rising prices of both food and energy sources, many in the UK and across the world have felt the sting of an increased cost of living. As prices increase, consumer attitudes around spending are sure to change. How do these changing attitudes affect sustainability and the future of the market?

Budget-Driven Choices

Recent consumer data has found that, unsurprisingly, the number one thing driving most consumers’ choices is their pre-established budgets. As prices increase, more and more consumers are being forced to make choices based on what their budget allows. One in seven (15%) are concerned that they will shop less sustainably.

Studies show a 24% increase in budget-driven choices when consumers are asked about their spending habits. In total, 36% of consumers say that all of their spending choices are dictated by staying within their budget.

Overall, consumers are buying less than they were just a few years ago. Over half of the consumers surveyed reported that they are forced to buy fewer products and services due to the rising cost of living.

Budget-Driven Sustainability

When it comes to sustainability, consumers are making moves that are budget friendly and more sustainable. When it comes to food waste, 8 out of 10 consumers say they are making a more conscious effort to waste less. Many say that the choice to be more conscious of their food waste is primarily a budgetary decision to lower food costs. However, the choice to cut down on food waste has the additional benefit of creating a more sustainable consumer.

In addition to cutting down on food waste, the increased cost of living is inspiring consumers to reduce and reuse whenever possible. An increase in prices makes it easier to make budget-friendly and sustainable choices, even when it is not fully intentional.

41% of consumers have reported buying second-hand clothing and 33% reported that they have begun recycling products around the home to cut down on costs, according to polls conducted by Edie.

Small Choices Make a Big Difference

Although prices are increasing, most consumers are still looking to make sustainable choices as long as it fits within their budget. Most consumers are making choices to buy affordable products that are sustainable when possible.

68% of consumers say that they make choices about products based on their packaging. If two products are similarly priced, consumers are more likely to choose the product that uses less plastic packaging.

In these ways, consumers are still trying to make the most sustainable choices that fit within their budget. Most consumers say that the increase in the cost of living is concerning, but even more, consumers state that the concern for the planet is even more pressing.

So, while consumers are forced to make decisions based on higher prices, they are still willing to do what they can to help support a more sustainable market.

Part two of this blog will be available next week.