Savvy Aussie shoppers are no longer buying the throwaway culture​

By our News Team | 2022

More than half of consumers say they are giving more thought to the social and environmental impact of their purchases before they buy.

Australian consumers are rejecting the throwaway culture, instead snapping up sustainable options, according to new research from Monash University.

A report released by Monash Business School’s Australian Consumer and Retail Studies (ACRS) research unit has found that local consumers want sustainable products and are increasingly looking for more environmentally conscious shopping options.

Retail Strategy

Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

More than half (52%) of the 1,000 shoppers surveyed for the latest retail monitor report ‘Spotlight on Sustainability’, say they are giving more thought to the social and environmental impact of their purchases before they buy, and are even willing to pay more for products that are ethically produced.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • 85% of survey participants said that durability and repairability (73%) were priorities when making non-grocery purchases.
  • 38% have reduced the number of new products purchased.
  • 45% are willing to pay more for ethically produced products.
  • 42% would pay more for products packaged in recycled material.

“Today’s customers are sustainability savvy and they are increasingly contemplating the social and environmental footprint of their purchases before they buy,” says the report’s lead author Dr Eloise Zoppos, Principal Research Consultant and Research Fellow in the ACRS research unit, in Monash Business School’s Department of Marketing.

“Pleasingly, both industry and government are taking note, actively seeking sustainable solutions to meet consumer demand and making sustainability a priority,” she adds.

Over the last three months, participants in the Spotlight on Sustainability survey purchased clothes, footwear and accessories (70%), personal care (49%), household goods (42%), books and stationery (38%), consumer electronics (26%), toys and games (24%) travel and tourism (21%), media and entertainment (18%), automotive (16%) and sporting goods and equipment (16%).

Consumers want locally sourced and produced goods

The report’s findings show that consumers are notably keen to support locally sourced and produced goods (44%) and increasingly aware of the benefits of offsetting costly carbon emissions from shipping and transportation, they are also prepared to pay more for locally produced items.

And, they are walking the talk, with 96% engaging in sustainable practices such as bringing their own shopping bags and recycling product waste regularly, over the three months of the survey.

“It is clear from our research that sustainable shopping practices are important to us, and from a lifestyle perspective, most Aussie shoppers are engaging with sustainable lifestyle practices and are committing to them,” says Dr Zoppos.

Aussie shoppers are increasingly more conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases and everyday activities and believe they can make a difference—and many retailers are getting on board, the report says.

Premium outdoor clothing and gear label Patagonia is leading by example, successfully making the promise of durable and repairable products a core promise of their brand. Their ‘Ironclad Guarantee’ offer – allowing customers to repair, replace or refund products that do not meet expectations – has proven very popular.