Ethical brands still prioritised by Australians, despite cost of living pressures

Ethical brands

Research study shows as consumers tighten their spending, brand values and shopping ethically are still a top priority.

Toluna’s Global Consumer Barometer Study shows that the rising cost of living continues to impact Australian consumers and is taking a toll on their health and well-being.

However, while Aussies are looking to cut their spending, they remain focused on brand values.

“As Aussies are preparing to forego some of their lifestyle choices in the face of price hikes – like cutting back on eating out, taking fewer holidays, and trading down for more generic supermarket brands – they are not prepared to sacrifice their values. Even in the midst of an economic crisis, Australian consumers remain staunch when it comes to holding brands accountable and proactively seeking out the ones that are most socially and environmentally responsible.”

“This is an incredibly significant finding, and brands and businesses who are not already focused on improving their ESG efforts must do everything they can to make it a priority.”

Sej Patel, Country Director, Toluna, Australia & New Zealand.
consumer sentiment, consumer research

Environmentally and socially responsible brands are still in demand

The research shows consumers are prioritising brands whose values align with their own, and they’re going out of their way to seek out environmentally and socially responsible brands.

The majority of consumers (76%) say it’s important to them that a brand’s values align with their own, with over four in ten (43%) stating that this is very (28%) or extremely (15%) important to them.

The majority of Australians care about the role and contribution brands make to the environment and society (80%), that they have policies that benefit the environment and society (76%), and commit to reducing their use of plastic and paper packaging (56%).

consumer sentiment, consumer research

Cost of living is impacting mental and physical health

Over two-thirds (69%) of Australians are concerned about the rising cost of living. Almost half (46%) of respondents said the rising cost of living is impacting their health and well-being; 31% are feeling more stressed, 18% are eating less healthily, and 17% are exercising less often.

Nearly half (47%) of Aussies say they’re worse off financially compared to before the pandemic, and 38% are concerned about their finances. About one-third (31%) expect to be even worse off over the coming three months. As a result, more than half (56%) are putting off big life expenditures until the economic climate is more stable.

Over the next three months, Australians expect to spend less money eating out (39%), ordering takeaway (34%), going on holidays (31%), drinking in pubs and bars (27%), and buying new clothes (37%). Almost half (44%) will start reducing unnecessary purchases in their grocery shops and start buying more home-brand items (30%).

Toluna’s Global Consumer Barometer Study is a regular index that taps into a community panel of 40+ million members to provide accurate and timely information on the world’s current perceptions. The latest wave surveyed 1,016 Australian respondents between 25-31 August.

Download a full copy of the research here.

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