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The Age of the Conscious Consumer

The age of the conscious consumer

Price is king when it comes to purchasing decisions. Or is it?

While 37% of Australian consumers still put affordability first, they are fast becoming a minority against a new breed of conscious consumer. According to consumer research, more than 50% of consumers put either health, social or environmental concerns first when making choices around which products to buy.

Driven by a trend towards more mindful living and greater awareness of the need for environmental sustainability and social responsibility, consumers are evolving. The challenge for those on the other side of the transaction is to keep pace and make it easier for consumers to make the mindful choices they’re looking for.

Defining the conscious consumer

For the conscious consumer, their purchasing habits are intertwined with their values. They consider social, environmental and ethical concerns as they choose which brands and products to buy.

A conscious consumer understands that purchases don’t happen in a vacuum. Every product has a life cycle that includes the supply chain and business model of the brand and how the product and its packaging are disposed of. This life cycle is one of the considerations they use when making a decision. 

They’ll ask themselves questions. Is the purchase necessary? Does the product contain ingredients or materials that are unethical or not eco-friendly? Do the brands values align with their own values?

Does conscious consumerism spell the end of retail?

Conscious consumerism isn’t anti-consumerism. Instead, it’s about purchasing well. Conscious consumers look for high-quality products that will last. They are mindful in their purchases and take the time to research what they buy. 

The thing is, not all conscious consumers are the same. Some will rank environmental concerns highly while others are more concerned with fair working conditions for the people who make the product. Farming practices, the treatment of animals, human rights, climate change, plastic waste are just some of the things a conscious consumer may consider. 

This isn’t the end of retail. This is a consumer-led retail evolution. 

Three opportunities for retailers

To continue to attract and market to the conscious consumer, it may require a rethink in your strategy. A shift in approach to bring your values to the fore. In the midst of the change, there are a number of opportunities for retailers and brands alike.

1. Mindful living

Conscious consumerism and mindful living go hand in hand. Mindful living is all about being present in the moment. Mindfulness is one element of mindful living but so is consciously making decisions to enjoy the little things.

Home cooking, exercise, meditation, kindness, enjoying nature, slowing down, eating slowly and journaling are all examples of mindful living. Much like conscious consumerism, mindful living is intentional and values driven.

2. The Joy of Missing Out

You’re familiar with FOMO. The fear of missing out is often associated with mindless consumerism. But the joy of missing out is the new trend. JOMO has been described as “a ‘refusal’ to engage in hyper-consumption, and to instead engage in meaningful consumption.” 2 With JOMO there is more joy in the meaning of the purchase and using or gifting the product than in the actual purchase itself. 

There is also another element to JOMO and that is the JOMO of reclaiming your time as your own. Consumers find joy in shunning social events in favour of staying in to indulge in self-care.

3. Eco essentials

Research shows that ‘Eco Actives’, i.e. people who consistently take active steps to reduce their environmental footprint, make up 20% of consumers. A further 39% of consumers are ‘Eco Considerers’ who take some steps but not as consistently as Eco Actives.3

With plastic waste a big concern, eco conscious consumers are looking for low-waste options. They are concerned with the impact of the entire supply chain and like to buy from brands that are transparent in their sustainability commitments and actions.

Cater to the conscious consumer

At Unique Health Products we proudly make it easier for you to meet the needs of your conscious consumers. We have a huge range of top-selling, sustainable brands, and products for you to add to your shelves. Shop online 24/7 or call our friendly sales team on 1800 787 904. If you’re a new Unique Health Products customer, you can register your account here.

Sources:

1. EY, 2021

2. Macquarie University, 2021

3. Kantar, 2020.

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