Talking the talk: Exploring the gap between consumers’ sustainability perceptions and behaviour

Why consumer behaviours sustainability research?

Consumer behaviour in relation to sustainability is complex, and often feels at odds with public perceptions. This has begged the question – why are there so many apparent contradictions between consumers’ perceptions and their (often lack of) sustainable behaviours?

Equally, there is evidence that, while consumers want companies to take meaningful action, they are resistant to any compromise in quality and price. This places companies seeking meaningful changes in a difficult position – consumers are looking for leadership and innovation alongside wanting to keep much of the status quo.

Sustainable switches not sacrifices

To bring quantitative insight to consumer behaviours sustainability research, we conducted an online survey with 1,002 UK consumers to investigate consumer perceptions and behaviour. We found:

  • 62% strongly agreed that humans rely too much on plastic, but 93% used single-use plastics.
  • While 80% agreed that people need to reduce how much they consume, only 57% agreed they would pay more for products that are sustainably sourced/made.
  • Findings suggest initiatives allowing consumers to adjust behaviour, rather than sacrifice, could feel more achievable.

Interested in your own research?

We have expertise in sustainable behaviours research, as well as an array of other sustainability research services, including public perceptions and positioning consultations.