Climate change: has it changed our shopping habits?
HAS the debate about climate change and the environment started to affect what we are buying?
New research commissioned by PayPal claims more than half of Australians are 'conscious consumers', making their purchase decisions based on the environment, ethics or fair trade.
The PayPal 2019 mCommerce Index also found Australians are increasingly shopping from comfort of their couches (40%) or while scrolling through social media, with the number of Australians shopping on social media growing by 42% YoY (27% in 2019, 19% in 2018).
PayPal says the emerging wave of consumer power is being driven by the young, with 66% of Aussies aged 18-35 years making values-based purchase decisions in the last 12 months.
Conscious consumer behaviour is lower for older Australians, with 55% of Aussies 35-49 years and 46% of the over 50's being Conscious Consumers.
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1-in-10 Aussies (10%) has boycotted a brand because of their values, a number that increases to 1-in-5 for Gen Z (19%); 1-in-7 Aussies (14%) had purchased a product specifically because it was sustainably produced or environmentally friendly, which jumps to 1-in-5 for Gen Z (19%) and 10% of Aussies buy environmentally-sustainable products and services wherever possible - regardless of price.
One in 10 (11%) Aussies believe that fast fashion should have added levies to cover environmental impact, and 1-in-5 (19%) agree that companies should be banned from destroying unsold clothing (a quarter of Aussies (25%) under 35 years hold this opinion).
"Aussies are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to environmentally and socially sustainable products. Every buying decision has the power to change the world a little and we're beginning to see a shift as Australians are increasingly choosing brands that operate ethically and sustainably over those that don't,'' Jess Rix,
PayPal Australia's shopping expert, said.
Staying in is the new going out
In 2019, mobile purchases of experiences such as concert and theatre tickets decreased 21% YoY (38% vs 48% in 2018) with flights and hotels also down 13% YoY (35% vs 40% in 2018).
Instead, Aussies are opting for at-home subscription services, such as Stan, up 36% YoY (30% vs 22% in 2018) and convenient home delivery grocery services, increasing 32% YoY (37% vs 28% in 2018).
Shopping on social media is exploding
Social commerce, or shopping via social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, has grown exponentially, with a 42% YoY increase and more than doubling since 2017.
More than a quarter of surveyed consumers (27%) have made purchases via social media in the last six months, compared to 19% in 2018 and just 11% in 2017.
Young Australians, in particular, have latched on to the trend, with 38% of Gen Z and 36% of Gen Y purchasing via social media in the last six months.
While Facebook remains the most popular platform among social media shoppers (83%), Instagram saw the largest YoY growth (34% in 2019 and 25% in 2018 vs Facebook 81% in 2018).
Trust still an issue on social media
Despite this surge in popularity, trust is proving to be the biggest barrier to social commerce adoption. As many as 1-in-3 surveyed consumers (31%) are wary of social media and 37% are concerned about the safety of personal information when bank details are uploaded to make a payment.
However, 41% of social shoppers would buy from a social media platform if they could use their PayPal account for safety and convenience.
Key Conscious Consumers findings
• Over half of Aussies (55%) shop based on their values and are considered Conscious Consumers, using their purchasing power to support brands that are ethical or sustainable and boycott those that aren't.
• Although this new wave of consumer power is being driven by the young, with 66% of Aussies aged 18-35 years having made values-based purchase decisions in the last 12 months, the Conscious Consumer behaviour has no age limit as 55% of 35-49 year-old Aussies and 46% of those over 50 also back their beliefs with their wallets.
• 1-in-10 Aussies (10%) has boycotted a brand because of their values
• 1-in-7 Aussies (14%) had purchased a product specifically because it was sustainably produced or environmentally friendly
• 10% of Aussies buy environmentally-sustainable products and services wherever possible, regardless of price
• Fast fashion is in the spotlight - 1-in-5 (19%) believe companies should be banned from destroying unsold clothing
• 1-in-10 (11%) Aussies believe that fast fashion should have added levies to cover environmental impact
• 24% of Aussies find it difficult to identify if a brand operates ethically or sustainably, this jumps to 33% of Conscious Consumers and 1-in-6 consumers (16%) say they try to buy sustainable products and services but can't always afford to
• Conscious Consumers actively seek out and provide product reviews - 2 in 5 (40%) Conscious Consumers purchase products or services based on a positive online customer review
• More than three quarters (78%) of this emerging type of consumer have posted a review after buying something online in the last 12 months, and contrary to businesses' belief, 70% of these reviews were positive.
The PayPal 2019 mCommerce Index
Respondents completed an online self-completion survey, with a total of 22,000 consumers and 4,602 businesses, across 11 markets taking part in the research. Approximately 2,000 consumers and 300-500 business decision makers were surveyed from each market: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, India, Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil.