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Aussie consumers are demanding sustainability, and retailers are listening 

Consumers and merchants are finally on the same page when it comes to eco-sustainable shopping.

More than half of Australian customers say they buy sustainably, will continue to do so, and are ready to wait longer for delivery to reduce their carbon footprint over the holiday shopping season.

According to recent Shopify data, more than three-quarters of Australian retailers consider sustainability a vital component of their business culture, which is higher than the global average. This demonstrates that Australian merchants are meeting, if not exceeding, the aware customer challenge.

Australian retailers are focused on sustainability initiatives this Black Friday Cyber Monday despite the obstacles of investment (43 per cent), lack of time (32 per cent) and knowledge (25 per cent), as well as because most people (the majority) feel that it is a major factor in brand loyalty (82 per cent). 

Despite the rising cost of living, 62 per cent of consumers say it affects their willingness to spend more, and 61 per cent say it influences their recommendation of a product.

The green consumer

As per the survey, sustainability is rated as an important purchase criterion for the majority of Aussie consumers. Furthermore, Australians are more likely to recommend products they purchase from sustainable businesses (61 per cent) and are more prepared to pay more for sustainable goods (39 per cent). 

Additionally, when compared globally, Australian consumers are the most likely to claim that they prioritise supporting local businesses and reducing the carbon footprint of the goods and services they use, at 29 per cent. 

Nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) of customers in the region say they’re willing to put in extra work studying and shopping around to discover the ideal sustainable product. This percentage rises for younger generations. As a result, they’re also looking for this.

“Conscious commerce is growing on a mass scale and plays a significant role in the purchasing decision of today’s consumer,” said Shaun Broughton, Managing Director, APAC, Shopify. “It’s incredibly promising to see the determination of both consumers and businesses to make better choices for the environment through these findings. As an industry, it’s now critical that everyone plays their role in lowering the barriers so that conscious shopping doesn’t come at a cost to the planet.”

“At July, our goal is to break the cycle of single-use travel products, so we offer a lifetime warranty on all of our suitcases so our customers can keep them forever,” said Zhoe Low, General Manager at Melbourne direct-to-consumer luggage startup, July. “As a result, we also put a conscious effort into ensuring that our products are durable, sustainable and long-lasting, with a considered footprint from materials to manufacturing.” 

“Sustainability has been a core value since we launched in 2015, and even though it can be costly, we have always chosen purpose before profit,” said Astrid Schwartz, founder of Queensland-based Bubnest, Australia’s only manufacturer of hand-made, local, and organic baby nests. 

“Unfortunately, one challenge many other retailers grapple with is greenwashing. Despite our commitment to sustainable and plastic-free products since our launch in 2015, consumers can get jaded by the words ‘sustainable’, ‘eco’, and ‘organic’ as many retailers use these incorrectly and disingenuously.

“Over the next 12 months, we want to educate consumers to help them know how to make more informed decisions about what they purchase and what the implications have to the future of this world.”

Half of Aussies set to spend more this holiday season

Another Shopify study found that, despite worries about the cost of living, almost half of Australian consumers will spend more during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, with quality and value driving choices.

Retailers are optimistic about consumer spending despite the bleak economic outlook; 72 per cent say they plan a big Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) to kick off the holiday season’s shopping, and 78 per cent say there will be better deals than last year’s BFCM.

Shopify commissioned an online study of 24,009 consumers and 9,012 businesses (fewer than 1,000 employees) in the UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the US, and Canada. The study was conducted during September and October of 2022.

For more information, visit shopify.com.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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