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Trends 2023 | Buy Now, Save the Planet Later

Cracks in the consumer sustainability narrative can no longer be ignored, and they’re about to become even deeper and wider. GWI, an audience insights technology company, states that consumers are overwhelmed by the world, and sustainability is at stake. Taker | Maker has highlighted the key insights and numbers for you.

Buy Now, Save the Planet Later

People are predictable, individuals aren't

Ask an individual if they care about the environment, and the chances are they’ll confirm. Ask millions of individuals on an ongoing basis if they care about the environment, and you can start to read between the lines and see the bigger patterns.

In the vast majority of countries we track, fewer people now tell us helping the environment is important to them compared to pre-pandemic. In every country we track, the number of people who say they expect brands to be eco-friendly has also shrunk in the last few years.

Don't just blame the economy

The cost of living crisis is front-of-mind for driving this apparent environmental apathy. In some countries, there’s a statistically significant relationship between changes in how people feel about their country’s economy or their personal finances, and changes in the degree to which helping the environment is a priority.

Inflation is plaguing many economies and outgoings are taking up larger shares of household incomes. That’s why sustainability in the year ahead will increasingly look like a luxury.

But it would be a mistake to stop at the economy. This trend stretches back over 2 years, during which time many countries saw record-high accumulations of cash savings.

The price of pent‑up demand

Post-pandemic pent-up demand has been extremely stubborn in the face of the cost of living crisis. In virtually every country we track, the number of people saying they would rather sacrifice other spending to buy a product sooner continually grew between Q2 2020-Q2 2022.

At the same time, expectations of brands to be eco-friendly dropped, and consumers’ willingness to pay more for eco-friendly products also fell. So this “sacrifice” was in some instances likely to have been sustainable purchasing.

Doom­scroll­ing and deglobaliza­tion

Interest in news, politics, social issues and current events has declined in over 90% of our tracked countries since 2020. In even more countries, we’ve seen a growing detachment from the global community, with fewer people saying they’re interested in what’s going on in the world.

Sustainability is a global issue. In an attention economy, the sad reality is it must compete for mental bandwidth when many are actively switching off from current affairs and global society.



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