Lifestyle consumers prioritize sustainability, says Stifel survey

According to a recent study, cost-conscious consumers prioritize better value and lower prices over durability.  Cost-conscious consumers also expect companies to act sustainably, but brands weighing in on social issues is a high-wire act.  An average of four in five US consumers believe it is very important for brands to act sustainably.

 Despite 89 percent of US consumers valuing sustainability, only 32 percent make it a priority when shopping, influenced by price (68 percent) and price (57 percent).

While 89 percent of US consumers still think it’s important for brands to act sustainably, only 32 percent prioritize sustainability in their purchasing decisions, according to a new survey by Stifel in partnership with Morning Consult.  U.S. consumers’ preference shift toward sustainability is due to better quality (68 percent) and lower prices (57 percent), with emphasis on lower prices increasing significantly from 52 percent in 2022, likely due to ongoing inflationary pressures.

Interestingly, interest in sustainability has remained stable across the board, with 78 percent looking for a sustainable lifestyle. About 63 percent are willing to pay more for a sustainable brand.  The Stifel survey revealed that 56 percent of consumers want information about a brand’s sustainability practices when considering a purchase, 70 percent consider sustainability factors when choosing between brands, and 59 percent purchase a product specifically because of sustainability.  These figures are now relatively stable compared to 2022, suggesting continued interest in sustainable practices.

Bombus, Yeti, The North Face Top “Stifel Sustainable Lifestyle Brands Index “ST.  LOUIS, Mo., Dec. 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) –US consumers’ views on the importance of sustainably managed brands have already caught up with Europe’s, but concerns about the economy and personal finances remain widespread among consumers.

Now in terms of lifestyle changes, 78 percent of respondents are trying to be more sustainable in their daily lives, an increase from 75 percent in 2022. 70 percent of people are quite concerned about the durability of products over their one-year period.  According to the survey, when it comes to ethical business practices, 58 percent of consumers believe they are very important, promoting fair pay and benefits for employees, fair tax contributions, and a healthy work-life balance as top priorities.

  The survey also highlighted the impact of social media on brand perception, with 67 percent of consumers aware of brands receiving negative attention for their statements or actions on social issues.  Additionally, while 60 percent think it is important for brands to take a stance on social issues, 74 percent are willing to boycott a brand if its stance contradicts their own views.

 Two-thirds of US consumers (67%) report that they are becoming aware of brands receiving too much negative attention on social media for making statements or taking action on social issues.

 By extension, European markets are showing similar trends, according to the survey.  In the UK, Italy, France and Germany, sustainability as a purchasing priority has declined significantly from the previous year.  ‘Good value’ has emerged as the top consideration in these markets, with most consumers in each country driving the purchase decision.  The importance of low price as a purchasing priority has increased in these countries, reflecting economic concerns similar to those in the United States.

 Another thing is that brands’ environmental efforts, such as energy and water consumption, use of recycled or recycled materials, reduction of carbon emissions and increased public support for environmental causes, have become less important over the years in these European markets.  But concerns about the economy and personal finances have skyrocketed among consumers in the region over the past year, highlighting the broader impact of global economic conditions on consumer behavior and preferences.

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