During a time when consumers are choosing to re-evaluate purchases and live with less, the EY Future Consumer Index Survey finds that the overwhelming majority of Canadians (80%) are considering sustainability when making purchasing decisions this holiday season and beyond.
“The pandemic has helped Canadians realize that they can live with less and consume responsibly, driving them to take actions to be more sustainable in their everyday lives,” says Lokesh Chaudhry, EY Canada Consumer Co-Leader. “Whether decreasing spending on unnecessary goods, repairing items instead of replacing them or pivoting to private labels and buying from environmentally-friendly companies, it’s clear that consumers are eager to do their part to improve their social impact and lessen their environmental one.”
Increasing pressure from all stakeholders to become more sustainable is pushing companies to pivot as Canadians pay more attention to retailers’ behaviours and operations. When choosing which business to shop at, the survey shows that consumers are looking for companies that are transparent about their environmental impact (71%), while behaving ethically (70%) and manufacturing sustainably (69%).
“With some consumers willing to pay a premium on local or sustainable alternatives to mainstream products, retailers and brands must be bold in the way they communicate sustainable value — like the long-term savings or benefits of reusable and higher quality products — to get out in front of competitors,” explains Ryan Beck, EY Canada Consumer Co-Leader. “But this branding must be met with a seamless omnichannel experience. As consumers bring fresh values into this shopping season and into 2022, it will be imperative for retailers to remove points of friction and facilitate fluidity between the virtual and physical worlds.”
While increased e-commerce penetration has been a major theme since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, over half (58%) of Canadian respondents are planning to look for deals in-store, up from 36% last year. For consumers shopping online this season, the top frustrations are expensive shipping (33%), followed by product availability (27%).
“Eased restrictions and reopened store fronts are driving more consumers to shop in-store to avoid increased shipping costs and delays caused by supply chain disruption,” Chaudhry adds. “To mitigate these challenges, companies need to rethink inventory and logistics. Making investments to transform supply chain operations can help companies to expand capacity and agility — while enabling greater visibility and transparency — to build resilience and to yield opportunities that meet rapidly shifting consumer demands and better respond to supply chain disruption into the new year.”
To learn more about the EY Future Consumer Index, click here.