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Conscious consumerism and why it pays for businesses to adopt an ethical strategy

‘Conscious Consumerism’ and its close relative, ‘Conscientious Futurism’ are on the rise and they have very real implications for all brands. So, what do these terms actually mean? And, more importantly, how do they translate to your business and marketing campaigns?

Put simply, conscious consumerism is defined as customers and businesses making their buying decisions based on those purchases having a positive social, economic, environmental, and political impact.

In other words, it’s a movement where customers – whether consumers or businesses – vote with their cash by buying ethical products. For example, choosing products made from recycled materials and items that can be reused time and time again while at the other end of the scale, boycotting unethical companies altogether.

It’s not just a passing fad either as conscious consumerism is a trend that even in the current economic climate, is continuing to grow.

Recent research shows nearly three-thirds of us (73% of global consumers), say they would or probably would, change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

According to GlobalData, conscious consumers were the biggest threat to clothing and footwear retailers in 2020. What’s more the same research carried out in late 2019 indicated that when people were asked about their intentions for the new year, researchers found that nearly one in five (19%) said they were planning to spend less than usual. And nearly half (48%) of these consumers were making a conscious effort to buy less ‘stuff’.

So, what does that mean? Much like the old adage, ‘pay cheap, pay twice’, many conscious consumers would prefer to pay for quality and longer-lasting items. In fact, 41% of consumers, say they’re ‘highly willing’ to pay more for products if they can be re-used again and again.

In light of these recent trends, some of the biggest brands in the world have made significant changes to the products and services they offer their customers. For example, H&M has launched a sustainable range of clothing to combat accusations of ‘fast-fashion’. The company also operates a recycling policy giving customers money off vouchers when they take in old clothes for recycling.

Whether you work for a FTSE listed plc or a SME, most organisations need to be prepared for how this fundamental change in buyer behaviour, which looks like it is here to stay, will affect what we will all be eating, doing and buying, a decade from now.

Further Reading Sources:
Conscious Consumerism: What It is, How It Can Affect Change, and 8 Ways You Can Be a Conscious Consumer Yourself Grow Ensemble
Conscious consumerism: How brands are rising to the challenge Marketing Week
What does the birth of the ‘Conscious Consumer’ mean for your brand? The Drum