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Responsible shopping is on the rise despite the recession
Fair tade cotton

New research has shown that there has been an increase in ethical shopping during the recession as more shoppers actively seek out responsible labels to buy.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Responsible shopping is on the rise despite the recession

New research has shown that there has been an increase in ethical shopping during the recession as more shoppers actively seek out responsible labels to buy.

The "Window on the Considered Shopper" report from shopper research specialist Shoppercentric has revealed how purchasing habits have changed as a result of the recession with more shoppers looking to buy responsible and ethically sourced products.

The research found that 83% of today’s shoppers actively seek out responsible labels compared with 76% in 2010 while 73% of shoppers said they would buy more ethical goods if the price matched those of standard products.

"Free range" products were the most popular responsible label products with 34% of those surveyed actively seeking them out while shopping. This represented an increase of 2% since 2010. Fair trade labels came in second place with 29% of shoppers choosing to buy them, a 4% increase on 2010 figures.

"There is no doubt shoppers have to be more considered in their shopping these days," said Shoppercentric’s managing director, Danielle Pinnington.

She continued: "The ‘have it all’ times have gone, and the ‘do I really need it’ days are here. Shoppers are being more prudent and responsible in their buying behaviour and as a result they are taking small steps towards becoming more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.

"The interesting thing is that shoppers don’t yet appear to be making that link themselves – for them, being environmentally friendly is more about what they buy, rather than how they buy and consume.  This might feel like splitting hairs, but it’s a crucial point for retailers and brands and something that they could help develop more quickly."

Shoppercentric said the research showed that while shoppers want to be responsible in their shopping, they also expect more than just 'ethical noise' from retailers and look to them to at least treat suppliers ethically and use local suppliers where possible.

Melissa Davis, director of Sustainability Consultancy, Truebranding, said:   "Shoppercentric's report highlights a key insight in today's tough economy - that recession spending among consumers is closely aligned with responsible shopping behaviour.

"People are worried about waste; trying to do more to make their current purchases last, and it seems, consider 'responsible' products as better when faced with two similar products.  The report raises timely questions for brand owners about how to communicate their sustainability credentials on the pack or shop fixture."

Pinnington said that retailers and brands need to convince shoppers of the value offered by responsible products, and help shoppers make more of a connection between prudent and responsible shopping.  She added: "In doing so, there is a chance that the environmental agenda not only has more direct relevance to shoppers, but also starts to feel more accessible, every day, and top of mind - thereby raising the possibility that shopper behaviour and priorities can be shifted for the long term as a result."

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