Aussie Conscious Consumers Holding Businesses to Account

Mar 02 2020 | PayPal editorial staff

A new kind of consumer is prioritising ethical values over the traditional factors that affect Australians’ buying decisions.
There’s a new breed of consumer on the rise – and they are using their purchasing decisions to bend brands to their will.
So-called ‘Conscious Consumers’ are actively seeking out brands who align with their values – from environmental concerns, to fairtrade and other ethical considerations – and they’re not afraid to boycott those they deem not up to scratch.
55percentAccording to the PayPal 2019 mCommerce Index, 55% of Australian consumers qualify as Conscious Consumers, while half of Aussie shoppers made at least five values-based purchasing decisions or held values-driven purchasing attitudes in the last 12 months.

Millenials lead the way

Not surprisingly, young people are driving the trend, with those under 35 most likely to identify as Conscious Consumers (66%). These figures drop as Australians age, with 55% of those aged 35-49 qualifying and just 46% of those aged 50 and above.
10percent Around the country, one-in-six people (16%) are more likely to buy products or services that have been validated as sustainable or fairtrade. While 14% of Australians have purchased a product specifically because it was sustainably produced or environmentally friendly.

In fact, 10% of consumers have gone as far as boycotting brands that don’t align with their values. Gen Z are more likely to deploy this tactic, with one-in-five (19%) taking their money elsewhere when brands don’t stack up.

Businesses are backing the movement

Australian brands are increasingly attuned to this changing consumer sentiment, with 92% claiming awareness of the ethical trading practices of their suppliers – and 40% displaying their Fairtrade credentials.
  • 75% agree that businesses must adapt to consumer demand for more ethical products and services
  • 62% are aware that an increasing number of customers make purchasing decisions based on the values they think a company holds

Counting the cost of conscious consumption

Despite the increasing focus on ethical and environmental considerations, cost remains an issue for some consumers, with one-in-six (16%) saying that they try to buy sustainable products and services but can’t always afford to.
Likewise, two-in-five (41%) Australian businesses claim they’d like to sell more ethical products or services, but to do so is too expensive; 60% also feel that price, features and convenience remain more important to consumers than ethical considerations.

The need to adapt

Nevertheless, brands know they need to adapt given that one-in-ten people now buy environmentally sustainable products and services wherever possible, regardless of what the price might be. And the number of Australians preferring to make online purchases from companies trying to reduce their impact on the environment (13%) looks set to grow.

So, if you’re not already one of the 37% of Aussie businesses with your environmental credentials clearly displayed, now might be the time to look towards a more sustainable future – for the planet and for your customers.

To read more about this research visit the PayPal mCommerce Index landing page for the full report.

The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial and legal advice before making any business decision.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.