Sustainability may not be worth the cost for consumers, Deloitte reports

Worldwide
Published:  23 June, 2022
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According to the latest Deloitte Global State of the Consumer Tracker, consumers are increasingly limited by cost when choosing to make sustainable purchases.

Between September 2021 and March 2022, the analysis shows that the percentage of consumers who recently purchased a sustainably produced goods or services fell in over a dozen countries.

Cost was cited as the major reason consumers did not purchase a sustainable good or service by 41% of respondents.

According to Deloitte, finances have replaced Covid-19 as the primary driver of consumer anxiety globally, due to concerns around inflation, savings and credit card debt.

As of March 2022, 49% said they had purchased at least one sustainable product in the last four weeks, with a third of those reporting that they paid significantly more compared to a traditional alternative.

Meanwhile, in 18 of the 20 countries in the study, Deloitte reports that higher-income consumers were more likely to make a sustainable purchase. For example, in Japan, 45% of higher-income consumers purchased a sustainable product compared to only 20% among lower-income earners.

The study found similar results in Canada, South Korea, Poland, China and the United Kingdom.

Deloitte said: “There are notable trade-offs between sustainability and cost. As retailers look to pass on inflationary pressures to consumers via price hikes, an opportunity exists to do so disproportionately toward less sustainable choices, inflating the prices of unsustainable goods and services while holding firm on sustainable products and choices.”

The research was conducted with 21,034 adults from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Kora, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.