Survey: Consumers want retailers, brands to stand for sustainability

See results from a Valassis study on post-pandemic consumer insights.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Retailers and store brands that demonstrate sustainable and ethical business practices are more likely to earn a U.S. shopper’s loyalty, per findings from a Valassis study.

Valassis, owned by data intelligence company Vericast, surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers Feb. 18 through March 4, identifying habits and perceptions of shoppers as they settled into a “new normal” of pandemic life.

One particular consumer sentiment found in the 2021 Consumer Intel Report was the need for a retailer or a brand to be more conscious about the earth and social issues. In fact, 72% of the respondents who are older adults, and parents of millennials, are more likely to be loyal to a brand or store that shares its efforts to be environmentally responsible or has sustainable or ethical business practices. 

This is joined by 63% of millennials saying they’re willing to pay more for sustainable products. That’s two demographic groups looking for retailers to stand for sustainability.

Store Brands recently held a forum on sustainability and within packaging, food waste and ethical sourcing, retailers on the panels said they’re leveraging store brand products to be leaders in these areas. Ahold, for instance, has direct goals set around its store brands to be healthier, sustainably certified and recyclable. 

Value Seekers
Also good news for retailer own brands that lead on price, consumers surveyed in the study are looking to save money. The study found:

  • 72% of consumers said they increased their saving behaviors during COVID and 82% of those people said they anticipate those behaviors to continue over the next year;
  • 82% of respondents said the most important thing when shopping for grocery products is to save the most money by going to a store with the lowest price;
  • 52% of consumers said a sale will drive an impulse purchase;
  • 79% said of affluent shoppers use coupons when planning their shopping and the same percentage said it’s exciting to discover a discount on a product they were already planning to buy.

Familiarity Wins
The study also interestingly pointed out that respondents trust a brand and store they’re familiar with, something a store brand leverages at its core, leaning on the trust and loyalty shoppers have with a retailer. Key results from the study included:

  • 67% said they prefer a brand or store that provides a consistent experience;
  • 56% said they typically purchase from brands they’re familiar with because of their brand communications.

The full study can be downloaded for free here.