There’s a quiet revolution underway that’s changing the face of retail in Britain. A decade ago, savvy shoppers kept their eyes peeled for a bargain, paving the way for the rise of discounters who rode the crest of a wave in the wake of the Credit Crunch. Fast forward to 2020 and the consumer mindset has radically shifted. Now, shoppers no longer make decisions based on price alone: ethics and sustainability have risen to the top of the agenda.
A report in industry title Retail Week laid bare the ramifications of the spending transformation: “Eco-conscious consumers vote with their wallets. Actions speak louder than words.” The magazine added: “Consumers no longer buy simply on price or brand name. There are a variety of macro-trends that influence how they live, feel, communicate and shop.” The editorial pointed out that where discounters locked in price wars had led the agenda for years, “diversity and sustainability” were the new battle lines. Retail experts pinpointed how younger consumers see through hollow messages and demand real action instead.
Environmentalism has been propelled into mainstream thinking by the likes of teenage activist Greta Thunberg who put the climate crisis on the world stage. A rise in activism, driven by growing occurrences of weather extremes such as wildfires and record-breaking heatwaves, is disrupting the traditional consumer marketplace, as shoppers become more aware of the effect of their actions on the planet.