Sustainability Now Drives More Consumer Purchasing Decisions, According to New Data from 2019 Paper & Packaging Consumer Trends Report

The majority of consumers include sustainability among the most important factors when determining their spending habits, according to new data released by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas from the 2019 Paper & Packaging Consumer Trends Report.

The report finds that environmental sustainability is a driving factor for 53% of Americans when making any type of product purchase decision. Three in five adults (61%) would be willing to pay more for food products packaged in sustainable materials, with 35% saying they would be open to paying up to 10% more.

Consumers also note the importance of sustainability when making purchasing decisions for retail goods (48%), office goods (47%) and luxury goods (44%).

The report also explores consumer attitudes about the future of sustainable living. While consumers assume a degree of personal responsibility for maintaining a sustainable lifestyle, they want the brands they trust to collaborate on this process and provide smarter, environmentally friendly products and services. In fact, when asked what entity is most responsible for improving sustainable development outcomes, respondents were most likely to rank businesses (72%) among their top two choices, followed by governments (57%) and consumers themselves (57%).

“Consumers reward brands that uphold public commitments to sustainability, with 31% of Americans listing sustainability among the top two attributes most helpful in building brand trust,” said Ian Lifshitz, vice president of sustainability and stakeholder relations, APP.

“We see this especially in food packaging, making it more vital than ever for brands to consider sustainable alternatives to traditional single-use plastics.”

Consumers feel they are doing their part. 93% of Americans say they personally engage in sustainable activities, including recycling (72%) and limiting their use of single-use plastics like straws and cutlery (45%), but hope to see more businesses meet them in the middle. A majority of Americans feel their city (79%) and / or businesses such as restaurants and retail locations (73%) should offer more opportunities to recycle and compost waste, including packaging.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Millennials are the most likely to say they would be willing to pay more for sustainably packaged food products, and are considerably more inclined than their older counterparts to pay over 10% more
  • 64% of consumers prefer to purchase food products packaged sustainably
  • 61% of consumers prefer to purchase products from companies that have made public commitments to sustainability goals

Survey Methodology
The study was fielded using Engine’s twice-weekly Online CARAVAN® Omnibus Survey. Respondents were members of an online panel and had agreed to participate in online surveys and polls. As such, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. Completed interviews are weighted by five variables – age, sex, geographic region, race and education – using data from the U.S. Census Bureau to help ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population, 18 years of age and older. The online survey was fielded between August 12-14, 2019, polling 1,004 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Please click here to view the executive summary of the survey

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