London, 1 July 2021 – Half (50%) of global consumers say that they have become more eco-friendly in the past six months, with Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern consumers leading the way, a new study by PwC has revealed.
The Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey focuses on consumer purchasing habits and behaviors and shows how consumers have increasingly adapted to be more eco-conscious and digital in the last six months.
Shoppers in Indonesia (86%), Vietnam, the Philippines (74%), and Egypt (68%) are leading this behavioral change. Shopping locally has also become a key factor in driving sustainability with 52% of global consumers stating that they are ‘actively doing more to support local business and independent retailers.’
The survey also reveals that home workers have slightly different shopping habits from those who work primarily outside the home.
62% of home workers say they buy from companies that are conscious of and supportive of protecting the environment; 61% of home workers buy products with eco-friendly or less packaging; and 61% of home workers buy more biodegradable/eco-friendly products. 50% of those who generally don’t work at home buy from companies that are conscious of and supportive of protecting the environment; 55% of those who work outside of the home buy products with eco-friendly or less packaging; and 50% of those who work outside of the home buy more biodegradable/eco-friendly products.
The survey of 8,681 consumers across 22 territories also highlighted that younger generations are not all becoming eco-friendlier. Millennials are the strongest segment tilting towards eco-sensitive behaviors, with Gen Z being mainly aspirational about eco-friendly behaviors and being surpassed by Gen X in eco-consciousness.
“The evolution of more digital, eco-friendly consumer behaviors is testimony to how the pandemic is changing the equation for consumer industries. With the young being the most upbeat about the future, we will see these new behaviours and habits influencing our return to work,” said Sabine Durand-Hayes, Global Consumer Markets Leader, PwC France.
Consumers are more willing to return to travel and go to mass events
Global consumers are showing positive signs of wanting to return to travel and sporting or mass events but concerns still remain. 32% indicated that they would be willing to go to sporting or mass events - up five percent from 27% in March 2021.
Similarly, consumers are more willing to travel on an international flight, increasing from 26% in March 2021 to 30% in June 2021. When it comes to other types of travel, there has been a sharp uptick in the number of consumers saying that they are likely to stay in a hotel in the next six months, increasing 7% since March 2021 to 43%. People are also more comfortable taking public transport, with half (50%) saying they will in the next six months.
Sabine Durand-Hayes, Global Consumer Markets Leader, PwC France, said: “Travel and mass events have been largely ground to a halt by the pandemic. It is encouraging that, as the vaccine programs are rolled out internationally, global consumers are showing tentative steps back to normality. For supporting industries an uptick in consumer sentiment could be a sign of a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. However, the base is still low and there is evident concern amongst a large percentage of the population.”
Consumers are more digital and demand faster delivery
More than half (51%) of consumers identify themselves as ‘digital’, a trait that reflects the growth of online shopping. The survey found that mobile and smartphones are the preferred platform (39%) for shopping online, with an uptick in consumers shopping online daily. The increase is substantial in markets including Thailand, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates (+10% from March 2021).
Consumers consider fast and reliable delivery (41%) and availability (35%) as the most important variables, with a good return policy (31%) being identified as the third most considered factor when shopping online.
Notes to editors:
The 2021 Global Consumer Insights Survey is a biannual study seeking to keep a closer watch on changing consumer trends. With a ‘pulse’ approach, PwC put a pulse survey into the field in late autumn 2020 and in spring 2021. For the second pulse survey in the series, we polled 8,681 consumers across 22 territories. To download the full report, visit www.pwc.com/consumerinsights.
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