Cost-of-living crisis has positives and negatives for climate emergency, finds Kantar

Kantar, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company, today releases its Connecting with Eco-Conscious report, revealing global findings on consumer support for sustainable practices, products, and brands in the face of economic uncertainty.

The study, conducted using Kantar Profiles Audience Network, uncovers that the cost-of-living crisis has accelerated sustainability behaviours in some areas, for example switching to hybrid or electric cars to reduce fuel costs, more cooking at home, and eating less fast food. Simultaneously, the economic environment is degrading sustainable consumer behaviour in other areas such as purchasing ‘green’ or sustainably branded FMCG/CPG products.

Using responses from 9,000 respondents across nine global markets Kantar explored the gap between expression of support and action in today’s economy, identifying that consumers will pause their sustainability behaviours in the face of economic pressures.

Key findings from the report include:

·       55% of consumers who purchase sustainably-branded grocery products have already or intend to switch to non-eco-friendly brands due to the cost of living.

·       23% of people globally have already switched from a sustainable grocery product brand to non-sustainable brand, and 32% of people responded that they will probably switch brands if costs continue to rise.

·       32% of consumers who purchase sustainable branded cosmetics have already switched to non-eco-friendly brands due to the cost of living today.

·       A further 27% say they will probably switch brands.

·       When asked if they would switch back to sustainable brand of cosmetics products, 68% said they would switch back if the cost-of-living lowers.

·       22% of those who have or might switch brands are unsure if they will switch back when the cost-of-living lowers.

·       72% of people who have or are currently considering buying/leasing a car say inflation has influenced their choice of vehicle.

·       Thinking about a new vehicle 65% of people worldwide are considering an electric (38%) or hybrid (27%) one’s. While consumers in Spain (49%), France (42%), the UK (34%) and German (32%) lean more toward hybrid vehicles, 73% of Chinese people are considering a fully electric car, as well as people in India (54%) and Singapore (34%). The opinion of the US and Brazil consumers is divided equally – almost a quarter is considering both a hybrid and an electric vehicle.

·       58% of people who are considering buying a hybrid car say the rising cost of fuel is an important consideration.

·       64% of people globally who have no plans to buy or sell their car this year, would consider selling their existing car if the cost of fuel continues to rise.

·       41% of consumers are buying more reusable products due to the rising cost of living.

·       54% of people globally are cooking more at home.

·       48% are recycling more.

·       26% consume more plants in their diet.

·       41% of people globally are buying less fast good, due to the rising cost of living.

·       24% are buying more second-hand items.

Commenting on the report, Jonathan Hall, managing partner of Kantar’s Sustainable Transformation Practice, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is inevitably having both positive and negative implications for sustainable consumption. It seems possible that we are reaching a tipping point in personal mobility: the steep rise in fuel and energy prices is encouraging people to do the maths, and many are concluding that they should make the switch to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. The data also reveals that consumer households globally are recycling more, cooking more at home, and are more likely to buy second-hand clothes, all of which were happening before, but are now accelerating. However, when it comes to more everyday household purchases, we can see that consumers are having to compromise due to the cost-of-living crisis. Some consumers are having to make the most cost-effective choice in the current circumstances. But there is an opportunity for sustainability-friendly brands to address switching behaviour by communicating better the value of their proposition.”

“While vehicle price remains a concern for many, the cost of fuel has shifted the economics of hybrid and EV ownership for many consumers.” said Caroline Frankum, CEO of Kantar’s Profiles division. Our most recent research from earlier this year illustrated that major motives for EV/hybrid adoption were focused around environmental concern and self-expression. We now see the relative price of petrol/diesel and electricity becoming a consideration for more than half of the population. For those not considering new vehicles, cars may not be as indispensable as before. Almost two-thirds of car owners would consider selling their car if running costs became too expensive. At the same time, we see an 33%