Six ways the pandemic has affected our sustainable shopping habits

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There has been very little to like about the pandemic, but one of the few positive impacts is the strengthening of the British public’s resolve to shop more sustainably. We recently spoke to 2,000 people to find out more about their sustainable shopping habits1.

We identified six sustainable shopping trends, confirming that we’re being more selective in what we buy. Read on to discover how our shopping habits are becoming more sustainable.  

1. 'Green’ products and services are now a mainstream choice

Most shoppers prefer products and services that don’t harm the environment, with just under two-thirds (65%) of the British public saying this is important. And this is especially true when we’re buying food and drink – one in three people said a company’s environmental credentials most influenced their purchasing decisions.

But it’s not only when buying food and drink, our research also found that people think a strong environmental record is important for retail, utility and agriculture companies too.

2. The ‘intention-action’ gap is closing

Despite having the best intentions, when shopping people haven’t always put their sustainable preferences into practice when it comes to making a purchase. But this ‘intention-action gap’ is closing, and more than a third (36%) of our research respondents said they’ve already started to buy more products from companies that can prove their environmental credentials. 

3. People seek out environmental credentials before they buy

Before heading to the high street or visiting a retailer’s website to make a purchase, the overwhelming majority of people have carried out research to find out whether a business’s products, policies or services are eco-friendly – only one in five say they never check.

But the facts aren’t always easy to come by: nearly half (48%) of Brits told us the information they seek is hard to find. 

4. Many people are happy to pay more for sustainable goods

‘Green’ products and services are often seen to come with a higher price tag, but this is becoming less of a barrier for many people. More than half (51%) of people think the environmental credentials of a product or service are now just as important as the price they pay for it.

What’s more, over a third (34%) have already knowingly paid more for something because they knew it had strong environmental credentials. On average, shoppers are willing to pay 3% more for greener goods, and 16% would be willing to pay at least 10% more for a product if they were sure it was sustainable.

5. Brits will tell their friends and family about sustainable discoveries

We enjoy sharing recommendations with our friends and family, especially if we’re helping them to become more sustainable. More than three-quarters (78%) of people say they’re more likely to recommend a business if they know it makes a sustained effort to be environmentally friendly.

6. People will buy again from sustainable companies

Once we’ve found companies follow sustainable practices, we’re more likely to purchase their products and services again. A massive four in five people (80%) said that they’re more likely to make future purchases from organisations that know are making a concerted environmental effort.

At E.ON, we’re committed to leading the energy transition and helping our customers to lead more sustainable lives. It’s why we already provide all our customers’ homes with 100% renewable electricity2 and offer this to eligible small business customers too3.

1. E.ON commissioned Censuswide to survey 2,000 consumers and 800 senior managers (or above) in SMEs. The research took place between 11th and 16th September 2020

2. Electricity backed by 100% renewable sources. E.ON's renewable generation assets, agreements with UK wind generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to your home comes from the National Grid and DNOs. eonenergy.com/renewable

3. SME customers that sign a contract directly with E.ON. Electricity sourced from E.ON’s renewable generation assets, supply agreements with independent UK wind generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to homes and businesses comes from the National Grid.