Data shows shoppers prioritizing sustainability and values | Google Cloud Blog

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Consumer Goods Technology Magazine

Shifting work habits, more online shopping options, rising inflation, and stretched supply chains are just a few factors making it harder to discern what’s top-of-mind for shoppers today.

But we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what consumers say they value most right now. New Harris Poll research commissioned by Google Cloud reveals how U.S. shoppers are thinking about consumer goods brands in new ways—from apparel, electronics, and beauty products, to food and beverage. 

While price unsurprisingly continues to be a major consideration in purchases, the average shopper is increasingly paying close attention to the values of consumer goods brands and how eco-friendly their products and practices are.

Shoppers want to buy from brands aligned with their values

COVID-19 drove people to reflect on their priorities, elevating concepts like community service, equity, and sustainability. A decade ago, most consumer goods companies would not have made these front-and-center, operational priorities. But today’s consumer not only wants savings and convenience, they also want that good feeling that comes from spending their money with a company that aligns with their values.

Our new research reveals that 82% of shoppers prefer a consumer brand’s values to align with their own, and they’ll vote with their wallet if they don’t feel a match. Three-quarters of shoppers reported parting ways with a brand over a conflict in values. 

Even with their favorite consumer goods products, a majority of shoppers will not compromise on principles. If there’s a value mismatch, 39% of shoppers said they’d permanently boycott their favorite brand, and 24% would break ties at least temporarily. Most won’t be quiet about their concerns either: 28% of consumers that found their values at odds with a brand said they have shared their concerns with friends and family, and another 15% have shared their qualms on social media.

Consumer goods companies need to prioritize sustainability 

A majority of today’s consumers (52%) are especially interested in supporting sustainable brands. They want to know how companies are managing their resources, specifically whether they are sourcing responsibly. These shoppers want to see meaningful, measurable efforts from CPG firms to save energy and reduce waste, like how Nuuly, URBN’s digital rental and resale business, has woven sustainability into its business operations, from its distribution centers to reusable packaging.

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