Who is the conscious consumer and why should you care?

Who is the conscious consumer and why should you care?

The conscious consumer are shoppers who are increasingly choosing to make conscious buying decisions, by purchasing local, ethical and environmentally friendly products. They are more frequently choosing which companies to shop with based on how environmentally or socially conscious they are. Or at least project themselves to be.

This massive market has grown to almost a third of Kiwi consumers. These consumers identify with the LOHAS values – Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, a market that focus on personal, social and environmental decision-making. Gen Y – The millennials make up the majority of this market, driving conscious consumerism by taking active responsibility for environmental change. And they’re certainly not to be underrated. They’re a powerful market that purchases the decisions they make.

So how do businesses successfully capture the conscious consumer? Transparency has become extensive since the launch of social media. By informing consumers of your businesses’ social responsibility, they can be empowered to make the right choice. But – it’s not enough to say you’re ‘doing good’ in marketing materials – you have to take real action. Consumers have access to information via social channels and other communications that support transparency and will punish you for misleading information – we all remember the Cadbury palm oil incident.

Businesses have the ability, the opportunity and the responsibility to impact the world for the better. And it has become somewhat of an expectation that at least some corporate revenue is used towards those responsibilities. For companies that are inherently detrimental to the environment such as aviation or oil, measures to offset this damage is often a way they can give the effect of a ‘green’ company such as Air New Zealand’s new initiative to reuse products or Z energy vouching to be the largest NZ biofuel provider.

Some businesses shy away from ‘green’ alternatives because they’re often more expensive. But recent research shows that despite the echoes of the global financial crisis, people are still willing to pay a little more if they believe their purchase is making an environmental, ethical or sustainable impact. Plus the principal of supply and demand is coming into effect as more and more people search for ‘greener’ alternatives.

So perhaps as the New Year gets closer it’s time to start thinking about the conscious consumer. Not only how you yourself can become one, but how your business will handle this rising call to action – and hopefully reap the benefits.