Global Profile of Ethical Consumer

Ethical consumers are throughout the world, there are a lot of similarities between them. Euromonitor International hosted a global survey about ethical consumerism and has found factors that contribute to living ethically. 70% of respondents live in emerging markets. 71% of respondents have a graduate degree and are parents of children under 17. Lastly, 65% of respondents have an income over USD $88,000. These responses give a clear picture as to who these ethical consumers are.

Education and parental status broadly impact ethical consumption

The market for ethical and environmental formulations is promising; however, awareness and preference varies considerably with educational level. College and university graduates displayed the highest consciousness regarding important environmental considerations.  Consumers with children under 17 also show a measurably higher interest in behaviour protecting the environment compared to non-parents.  This suggests that greater consumer education is required to help people appreciate scientific claims and the health benefits of certain eco-friendly credentials, in order to engage with a wider consumer base.

Consumers’ ethical values mirrored in their shopping attitudes

Although a significant majority of consumers, globally 65%, agrees with the statement to try to make a positive impact on the environment through everyday actions, a much smaller proportion follows through with actual purchase of eco- or ethically conscious products.  However, the pattern of shopping behaviour is mirroring the more environmentally conscious mind-set in emerging markets versus developed economies. 

Understanding what motivates consumers to make ethical purchasing decisions and how to communicate environmental positioning effectively is a key strategic priority for companies. The fact that eco/ethical claims rank high in emerging markets consumers’ list of shopping preferences indicates that lower spending power does not dent people’s desire to minimise their impact on the environment.

Living ethically sparks interest at later age in developed markets

Answers to "I try to have a positive impact on the environment through my everyday actions"

Source: Euromonitor International

Globally, consumers’ interest in living ethically peaks after the age of 30, in line with the height of their careers and earning potential. However, in developed markets there is stronger engagement with environmental values among the over 60s consumer base. Product ranges with strong eco-ethical claims in Western Europe and North America can tap into the most interested green consumer base by aligning their offerings closely with the concerns and desires of senior consumers, with higher spending power on fmcg goods.  One of the reasons for the lower awareness of ethical features in fmcg products in developed markets compared to emerging is the high penetration of iconic, mainstream products and brands, such as Nivea, Nestlé or Nike, and a strong trust among consumers in their quality and functionality.