The trend: Consumer concerns about climate change reached a tipping point in 2021, and we expect calls for action to grow louder in 2022.
Younger consumers lead the charge: The pandemic boosted global awareness of environmental issues and sparked a renewed commitment to finding solutions.
Progress in Big Tech:
Fashion makes strides:
Consumers increasingly factor sustainability into their online and offline purchasing decisions. They’re paying attention to the sellers’ ethical practices, whether products or their components are sustainably sourced, and if they have eco-friendly product packaging (size, material, and recyclability) and delivery (vehicle and location options).
Post-purchase, the principle of circularity is fueling the secondhand and resale market, especially for apparel and accessories. Retail brands that fail to satisfy consumers’ elevated expectations will quickly lose relevance—as the fast-fashion sector is learning.
It isn’t just retail: While retail may be affected the most by changing consumer preferences, sustainability will impact other sectors. In financial services, socially responsible investing will pick up steam, and in the auto industry, electric vehicle manufacturers are feeling the pressure to investigate alternatives to toxic elements in their batteries.
The big takeaway: Thinking about sustainability has gone from garnering brands bonus points to becoming table stakes.