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PwC: Eco-friendly and environmentally friendly products are attracting more and more consumers

11 August 2021

More than half of global consumers became more interested in organic products during the pandemic, and millennials are most aware of the impact their purchasing decisions have on the environment, according to the June PwC Global Consumer Insights Pulse survey.

“It is a lasting change in behavior, produced against the background of the pandemic that left people more time to analyze their way of life and the implications that their daily activities, including shopping, have on the environment. This change is noticeable if we look at the answers from the 2019 edition of the same survey. Before the pandemic, only 35% of respondents chose sustainable products to protect the environment, 37% were looking for products with eco-friendly packaging and 41% avoided using plastic as much as possible. This year’s edition shows an increase between 10 and 20 percentage points of affirmative answers to each of these questions,” says Ruxandra Târlescu, partner, PwC Romania.

While concern for the environment has visibly increased among “millennials” aged 27 to 32 (about 60% being interested in organic products and buying from companies that protect the environment), those in Generation Z aged 23 and 26-year-olds are the most skeptical when it comes to shopping with sustainability. The difference in behavior between these generations could be explained by the perception of the youngest that it is more expensive or more difficult to buy organic, healthy products with minimal impact on the environment. The most interested in the transparency of traceability and the origin of a product are the “mature” millennials, aged between 33 and 36 years, almost two thirds wanting to know such information.

Although eco-consumerism is clearly on the rise, the survey shows that some consumers are skeptical and do not know or believe in the concept of sustainable shopping citing high price, questionable quality, limited availability or lack of time to look for them.

“In conclusion, the survey shows that producers and retailers should not overestimate this trend. Although several consumers say they are interested in sustainability, the data indicate that Generation Z, in particular, may have rather environmentally friendly views that often do not translate into spending on eco or organic products. However, as companies continue to offer more accessible and practical eco and bio options, it is possible that consumer aspirations will turn into action.”


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