How Have Conscious Consumers Changed Brand Behaviour For The Better?

Posted 11.06.2021

By Annabel Thomas

We all know how strange the last year and a half has been, and alongside lockdown restrictions, there have been many changes to consumption patterns. Some people have struggled financially during Covid-19, and others have made the most of online shopping and their disposable income. One thing that is clear however, is that there is a rise in a new type of consumer, the ‘conscious consumer’. 

The Rise of Conscious Consumers

From Brexit to Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter Movement and Climate Protests, we have seen an increase in social and environmental movements recently. The rise of upcycling, veganism, recycling, plastic-free packaging and equal pay has meant that consumers are pickier than ever about where to spend their money. A huge 75% of Brits are consciously modifying their behaviour to adopt ethical consumer practices. From dairy to fashion, no industry is untouched by the shift to ethical consumption.

Plastic use is the biggest driver in consumption habits, as encouragingly, a huge 46% of Brits are actively reducing their plastic waste. With threats of extinct species and increases in natural disasters, the impact of consumption habits on the environment is an area consumers are becoming increasingly alarmed by. Alongside this, there is a shift in buying habits to support small, local businesses that offer transparent supply chains, clear messaging and explain where their products come from. 

Conscious Consumers

What is a Conscious Consumer?

A conscious consumer is someone who actively seeks out companies, brands and products that meet their ethical standards. This is done by shopping at local, ethical and environmentally friendly companies. Millenials make up a large chunk of this growing movement as they take active responsibility for their buying habits. This type of consumer is certainly not to be underrated as they make powerful buying decisions!

Conscious Consumerism Examples: when brands have had to change

  • Burger King: Prompted by a nine and seven year old, Burger King announced they would be removing plastic toys from their kids meal boxes in the UK at the end of 2019. The two sisters collected over half a million signatures requesting the fast food giant reduce their plastic use, showing that no one is too young to understand the impacts of consumption on the planet.
  • BooHoo: In 2020, the poor working conditions and below average pay of BooHoo workers in Leicester factories was discovered, workers were paid as little as £3.50 per hour and the fashion company has been under investigation for modern slavery. After news broke, the social media backlash was brutal and the company’s share price fell more than 50% in a week.
  • Brewdog: Just this week Brewdog has come under fire from a group of former employees for creating a toxic working environment and culture. A ‘culture of fear’ was described by employees and has caused a social media frenzy. In 2021 it is not enough for brands to just say what they do to be environmentally friendly, inclusive and charitable, consumers and employees want to see it in action.

How do you cater to Conscious Consumers?

Shockingly, just 100 companies across the globe contribute to 71% of the global greenhouse emissions. The responsibility lies with brands to be transparent with their supply chains and keep up with a growing customer demand for ethical products. 

There is so much that businesses can do to cater to these consumers, and brands should see it as an opportunity rather than a frustration. From having transparent supply chains, open communication, plastic-free packaging, a fair wage scheme to supporting social injustices; appealing to conscious consumers can be done. 

Brands need to show, not just tell consumers what they are doing to be socially responsible. Whether that is through tangible actions and changes that can be documented on your website or social media, consumers want to see the evidence! Brands can no longer rely on a strong reputation and excellent quality products to make sales, their stance on social and environmental issues plays an ever growing role in purchase intent. 

In an ever crowded marketplace, brands that effectively communicate their core values to consumers stand to make the most and gain loyal customers. Need any help with getting your message out there? From web design to PPC and SEO, we have you covered. Get in touch with us today…

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