PITTSBURGH — A gap exists between the percentage of consumers who say they are interested in sustainable items and the percentage of retailers who say they believe consumers are interested in such items, according to two 2021 surveys from First Insight.
An online survey of more than 1,000 consumers took place in July and found 68% of respondents said they were willing to pay more for sustainable products. A survey of 51 retail senior-level business executives took place in October. Thirty-four percent said they thought consumers would pay more for sustainable products. While 72% of consumers said sustainability was a very or somewhat important purchase consideration, 51% of executives said they thought sustainability was a very or somewhat important purchase consideration for consumers.
“This report clearly demonstrates that retailers are leaving money on the table,” said Greg Petro, chief executive officer of First Insight. “Brands and retailers must listen to the voice of the customer on issues as critical as sustainability. Consumers want more than performative measures from retailers and brands when it comes to ESG (environmental, social and governance) priorities, which will only become more important as Gen Z grows in influence.”
When asked why they prefer sustainable brands, 17% of consumers said to improve the environment, 16% said social signaling, 11% said to reduce carbon footprint, 9% said to reduce production waste and 8% said animal welfare.
Another gap came in brand importance. Fifty-six percent of consumers said they ranked brand name as somewhat or very important while 94% of executives said they thought consumers rank brand name as somewhat or very important.
First Insight, Warrendale, Pa., helps retailers and brands make better decisions by using predictive analytics. First Insight partnered on the report with the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.