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Eco focus and price are key to where consumers shop - OC&C study

Published
Dec 9, 2019
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Fashion brands are falling over themselves to establish their green credentials and that’s no surprise given how high consumers rate green issues. Now a new study, the latest in consultant OC&C’s annual series of retail reports, says almost half of UK consumers see a retailer’s environmental agenda as important when shopping.


Consumers increasingly choose eco when shopping



The company’s 2019 Retail Proposition Index revealed a “major shift” in what influences where people choose to shop, “with two seemingly conflicting trends of value shopping and ethical consumerism both gaining popularity”.

And while the retail sector in general may think it’s doing all it can, consumers don’t agree. In fact, the study showed there’s “growing mistrust in our leading retailers”.

Attitudes to sustainability became major influencers on where people shop for the first time in the new study. Matt Coode, Partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants, said: “Conscious shopping is a clear differentiator for UK consumers in this year’s Index. Almost half (45%) of consumers said that a retailer’s impact on the environment is important to them when shopping, rising to 55% among the Millennials and Generation Z, who will drive over 90% of spending growth in the UK over the coming five years. 

“Health and beauty brands were the first to address the environmental impact of their brands, and it is now vital that all brands have a strong and authentic sustainability strategy”.

But sustainability isn’t the be-all and end-all for shoppers and the report said value is also key. Three of the names in the top 10 favourite retailers list were discounters and those outside the top 10 that focus on low prices also seem to be heading upwards.

So who were the most popular retailers this time round. Well, after having taken number one spot last year, John Lewis fell back into its more regular second place this time. M&S Simply ood was at number one, while Amazon was in third place and Lush fourth. M&S was fifth, Ikea sixth, Aldo seventh, Boots eighth, Home Bargains ninth and Wilko in 10th spot. Ralph Lauren dropped out the top 10 this year having been in eighth place in 2018.

OC&C hailed regular top 10 name Boots for becoming the UK’s ‘most trusted’ retailer for the first time, but many of the other names it called out for special mentions weren’t in the top 10. It noted the rise of Poundland which is now seen as the UK’s ‘best priced’ retailer, a position achieved while diversifying its product range beyond just £1 items. The company has ramped up its fashion offer a lot in recent periods.

Meanwhile, Argos saw a meteoric rise from 50th to second in the trust rankings since its acquisition by Sainsbury’s. And in the overall index, Next rose 16 places and narrowly missed out on a top 10 place but saw “strong advances in quality and experience ratings as they deliver on their marketplace strategy".

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