According to a recent survey from Genomatica, sustainability is still a priority with consumers with 85% of Americans reporting that they have been thinking about sustainability the same amount or more despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of those consumers thinking about sustainability during the pandemic, 45% are noticing less automobile traffic; 42% perceived cleaner air; and 40% are noticing more plastic waste. In addition, 56% of Americans want both the government and beauty brands to prioritize sustainability; 37% are even willing to pay a little more for sustainable products, even during the pandemic.
Genomatica conducted this research using an online survey among 2,000 adults in the United States. The sample was balanced by census targets for age, gender and geographic area. The data was collected from June 16 through June 24, 2020.
According to the survey report, 43% of Gen Z consumers are the most willing to pay a little more for sustainable products even during an economic downturn, compared to 40% of millennials, 34% of Gen X and 34% of boomers.
According to the survey, 53% of Gen Z consumers and 44% of millennial consumers say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them think more about sustainability, while 67% of boomer consumers have stated the pandemic had little to no impact on how much they think about sustainability.
Millennial and Gen Z consumes are reportedly the most cognizant of buying products with natural ingredients with 31% of these consumers ranking natural ingredients as one of the top three most important sustainability practices, compared to 19% of boomer and 25% of Gen X consumers.
Overall, older consumers gravitate toward the larger, abstract conceptions of sustainability while younger consumers focus on individual actions they can take, such as replacing synthetic products with alternatives containing natural ingredients.
The Attitude Toward Sustainability
According to the survey, 86% of Americans say sustainability will be equally or more important when the pandemic subsides. Forty-eight percent of those that self-perceived themselves as being more sustainable have said they were inspired to focus on sustainability amid the pandemic and 42% realize being sustainable is easier than initially thought.
On the other hand, 59% of consumers who admit being less sustainable during COVID-19 have said they disagree with the ideology, along with 43% of consumers calling it a “necessary evil” and 36% stating to feel guilty about not practicing sustainability.
Forty-six percent of consumers who stated they live in an area where COVID-19 is predominant have claimed they have been thinking more about sustainability. Forty-three percent of consumers who have been laid off, furloughed or seen job disruption due to the pandemic say they would still pay more for sustainable products.
Sustainable Cleaning Against COVID-19
Four in five American consumers added they trust natural-based cleansers to protect against COVID-19. Half of Americans in the study noted they are comfortable using natural cleaning products.
“The collective consciousness on sustainability is rising and certainly faster than most would have expected during these unprecedented times,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “While this shift has been underway for decades and particularly strong in Europe, many of us in the United States have been inspired by the rapid improvement in air quality and traffic that shine a bright light on how our behaviors and decisions impact our environment and quality of life. As brands are learning, Americans are increasingly spending in line with their values, fueling a ray of hope in a tough year.”