Covid-19 driving the transition to sustainable products

Covid-19 has brought a change in consumer habits, making the sustainable products gain popularity across the globe. Environmental and Socio-cultural trends are shaping consumption patterns, making the industry increasingly more profitable especially thanks to the push from millennials that have proved to be more environmentally conscious than previous generations. Italian customers have also experienced changes in consumption patterns after the advent of Covid-19, favoring the purchase of more sustainable products.

While the world’s population battles through this pandemic-driven crisis, the sustainable products industry continues to gain popularity across the globe. The main trends affecting the popularity of the industry, even during this time of crisis, are Environmental and Socio-cultural trends.

In 2020, there has been an annual growth rate of 3.5% in sustainable product sales and increasing popularity for the sector with a push from Gen Y (“Millennials”). Gen Y is 75% more likely than baby boomers, at 34%, to purchase sustainable products. According to a study, this divide is fueled by technology as “sustainable shoppers in the U.S. are 67% more likely to be digitally engaged” and that is linked to the amount of knowledge they are able to access online.

Secondly, negative trends such as the decline of raw materials, climate and weather, reduction of carbon footprint, pollution and greenhouse gas, and biodegradable products have a positive effect on the rise of sustainable products. Simultaneously, we observe the worsening effects of climate change-related events as a consequence of the failure of reducing human being’s carbon footprint. However, even though these are bad signs for the world, at the same time all of these factors push more environmentally conscious buyers to switch to biodegradable or sustainable products.

Therefore, there is a constant increase in sustainable product sales. Studies forecast the US market to reach somewhere between $142.4 billion and $150.1 billion in sustainable products by 2021. Hence, the industry is becoming more and more profitable and this rate is expected to grow even more in the future, thanks to the young generations.

We are witnessing this consumption change towards more sustainable products also in Italy. According to a study by Coldiretti, in fact, 27% of consumers buy more sustainable or eco-friendly products than before Covid-19, and 21% of them buy more from stores promoting sustainable products. Moreover, the same study has shown that 59% of Italians believe that radical and urgent lifestyle interventions are required in order to improve the current environmental situation.

A study conducted by Nomisma has also shown that Italian consumers’ purchasing preferences with regard to fashion and luxury have evolved after the advent of the pandemic. Data from the study show that in the next 12 months for almost 1 Italian out of 2 will be important to buy clothes, footwear and accessories produced with methods that respect the environment and protect animal welfare. Furthermore, 37% of Italians are opting for making sensible purchases by preferring clothes that last more than a season. Eight out of 10 Italians would like to know the origin of the raw materials used in the production of the clothes, footwear and accessories they buy. The 72% instead would like to know the environmental impact related to the production of fashion and luxury products they buy (in terms of CO2 emissions, water footprint, etc. …).

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