Consumers have become “more digital, more local and more conscious of health and safety”, a global survey done by PwC, one of the world’s “big four” financial firms, revealed. One of the results showed that South African consumers are moving to support more companies and retailers in local communities, as well as eco-friendly products.
PwC have just released the results of their December 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey.
“We surveyed 9 370 people in 26 territories or countries. What’s changed? With 76% of respondents reporting being at least partially vaccinated, consumers are planning to spend more, and they are seeing improvements in their lifestyle as employers allow new ways of working,” the firm said.
According to the survey, more than 52% of the respondents believe that they are more eco-conscious than they were a mere six months ago. PwC stated that this is a more than 2% increase since their June survey. This means that more than half of the respondents are actively practising being more sustainable than they were in the first half of 2021.
“Those who work from home are 10 percentage points more likely than those who work away from home to consider sustainability factors when shopping,” the firm found.
“For example, 51% of respondents say that when considering a purchase, they factor in whether the product was produced with a traceable and transparent origin. It’s intriguing that those who work from home show more interest in sustainable shopping. It could be because at-home workers tend to be more white-collar and affluent, with more financial freedom to be selective in their purchasing choices.”
It may also be that the smaller carbon footprint from working from home has led to a “more heightened awareness about how shopping habits affect the planet”.
In South Africa and around the world
The survey shows that South African consumers in particular are moving to support companies and retailers in local communities (67%), and produce eco-friendly or biodegradable products (51%).
While how eco-conscious a company is counts for a lot for consumers, not just in South Africa but across the globe, the survey reveals that price and convenience are still king.
“People want to do the right thing for society and for the environment, but products can’t be only either affordable and easy to get or sustainable; they have to be both,” the survey read.
“Even when it comes to other factors in the shopping experience, such as trust in a brand, price is a key consideration. For example, 36% of respondents say that a company’s use of personal data to offer them tailored discounts or recommendations affects their trust in the brand, but only 22% say the same about using personal data to tailor their customer experience.”
Optimism drives spending
According to the survey, a total of 69% of respondents are “actively seeking the best deal” when shopping online, while 68% are doing the same when shopping in-person. A further 42% of online shoppers are actively seeking eco-friendly products, and the same figure holds for those who prefer to shop in-person.
The survey found that vaccination status and flexible work style were also factors that contributed to how consumers have been shopping over the course of the past six months.
“Overall, 61% of respondents are optimistic about the future, and only 18% are not. Vaccination against Covid-19 is a major driver of optimism. About 66% of vaccinated respondents are optimistic about the future, compared with 43% of unvaccinated respondents,” it found.
“Optimism seems to be manifesting in spending, too. Respondents say they’ll spend more across categories over the next six months, with 41% predicting increased spending on groceries, 33% on fashion, and 30% on health and beauty.”