Environmental concerns and global citizenship: Two world views shaping the way consumers shop
11 November 2021
Over the past few years, consumers have increasingly aligned their purchases with their personal values. Now, it’s the norm for many shoppers to put their money where their values are.
Around the world, people are concerned about the future. They’re experiencing the impact of climate change, monitoring their health and safety and participating in social justice movements to improve society, as a whole. In the consumer world, these concerns are playing out with more mindful purchasing – people are expecting more than quality products at affordable prices. They’re expecting companies to do their parts in bettering the world.
Amazon Ads recently worked with Environics Research to develop a global survey to learn about the social values that are shaping consumers’ buying decisions. We found that across countries, consumers expect more from brands: 83% of U.S. consumers, 88% of European consumers1, 88% of Canadian consumers2, and 95% of Mexican consumers3 think more brands should do their part in helping the world. And 55% of U.S. consumers, 70% of European consumers4, 66% of Canadian consumers5, and 83% of Mexican consumers6 are more likely to purchase an item from a brand that is willing to take a stand on social issues.
55% of U.S., 70% of European, 66% of Canadian and 83% of Mexican consumers are more likely to purchase an item from a brand that is willing to take a stand on social issues.
Through our research, we found that there are two social causes consumers are especially seeking to support: environmental concerns and global citizenship.
Shoppers around the world are increasingly conscious about how their purchasing decisions impact the planet. Whether related to sourcing, supply chains, packaging or recycling, today’s shoppers are looking to support brands that are committed to reducing their environmental impacts. In fact, 71% of U.S. consumers and 79% of European consumers agree with the statement: “I am tired of brands acting like they are exempt from environmental responsibility.”7
The social values of eco-conscious consumers
Ecological concern is a key value for sustainability-minded shoppers. These consumers often display an adaptability to complexity and a desire to explore complexity as a source of opportunity. This group tends to have a need for status recognition, with a desire to be held in esteem and respect by others. Eco-conscious consumers also see advertising as stimulus, and enjoy viewing advertising for its aesthetic properties. They also believe in the importance of brand, and give great weight to the brand name of a product or service.
Eco-conscious shoppers are looking for brands that are also sustainability-minded. In the U.S., 60% of consumers actively seek out brands that are sustainable in their business practices; in Europe, 71% of consumers do so.8 In addition, 55% of U.S. and 66% of EU consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products.9 Brands seeking to reach eco-conscious shoppers should include their sustainable practices in their marketing messages across channels. They should educate consumers about how they’re reducing their environmental impact, whether that’s on packaging, in a video ad or on their website. These consumers want details and transparency, and they’re willing to pay more for it.
Technology has broken down borders, allowing people all over the world to connect. Consumers can stream music and movies from different countries, discover products that are cult-favourites in other regions, and chat in real-time with people around the world – whether they speak the same language or not. This global connectedness has changed our sense of communities, allowing them to flourish online and off. Nearly eight in ten consumers agree that they love to feel connected to others who share similar interests (78% U.S., 79% Europe).10
The social values of consumers who identify as global citizens
These consumers often have an expansive world view, thanks to their global consciousness (or an awareness of being part of the world as a whole); they’re non-ethnocentric and feel affinity to people in all countries. They want to learn about the customs and heritage of racial and ethnic groups in their country (75% U.S., 67% Europe).11 They’re also proponents of multiculturalism, and are open toward the diverse cultures, ethnic communities and immigrants that make up their countries.
More than half of consumers in the U.S. and Europe believe that the ability to connect to anyone and everything online lets us be more connected than ever before – in the best way possible (52% U.S., 55% Europe).12 This creates a multitude of opportunities for these consumers to explore different worlds and express their individuality within new, virtual networks. The majority of consumers report that they are more of a global citizen than one of their own country (52% U.S., 60% Europe).13 As a result, consumers want brands to reflect the rich, diverse world that they’re used to seeing. They want more multicultural representation: 63% of U.S., 72% of European14, 72% of Canadian15, and 83% of Mexican consumers16 want more diversity and representation in advertising. Brands should consider being aware of consumers’ expanding worldviews, and reflect that in their marketing and advertising. From the imagery they use to the stories they tell, brands should be inclusive of people from different backgrounds and identities.
How brands can connect with socially conscious consumers
Consumers want to support brands that align with their values – particularly on the environment and in diversity and inclusion, as it relates to global citizenship. When it comes to the environment, eco-conscious shoppers are seeking consistent messaging and transparency from brands around their sustainability practices. With regards to diversity and inclusion, consumers want to see their worlds represented in the brands they purchase, in the form of relevant and authentic representations of diversity across race, age, sexual orientation, religions, abilities and other identities. Brands must approach this authentically and intentionally, as consumers today are savvy and will see through opportunistic or performative gestures.
By demonstrating these values consistently, and showing how they’re making a positive impact in society, brands can strengthen their relationships with today’s consumers.
To gain more insights on connecting with your audience through values, read our guide, “Higher Impact”.
1 Environics Research, “Amazon Advertising | Social Values Global Consumer Themes”, U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Italy, 2021.
2 Environics Research, “Building Meaningful Brands”, Canada, 2020.
3 Environics Research, “Building Meaningful Brands”, Mexico, 2020.
4 Environics Research, “Amazon Advertising | Social Values Global Consumer Themes”, U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Italy, 2021.
5 Environics Research, “Building Meaningful Brands”, Canada, 2020.
6 Environics Research, “Building Meaningful Brands”, Mexico, 2020.
7-14 Environics Research, “Amazon Advertising | Social Values Global Consumer Themes”, U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Italy, 2021.
15 Environics Research, “Building Meaningful Brands”, Canada, 2020.
16 Environics Research, “Building Meaningful Brands”, Mexico, 2020.