In today’s increasingly digital world, consumers have access to more information than ever before. With a simple Google search, they can learn about anything they desire in less than 5 seconds. This quick and easy access to information has led to the rise of conscious consumerism and an increase in demand for transparency from businesses, who often thrive in a world where inside practices and supply chain processes remain hidden.
Now that social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter exist, businesses can no longer hide their behaviour from consumers like they have in the past. If a company acts unethically, all it takes is a few viral posts from angry consumers before that company finds its reputation tarnished.
While consumers’ values and priorities vary, many have begun to consciously change their purchasing behaviour to support businesses who promote the values they find most important.
What is conscious consumerism?
Conscious consumerism is the increased effort to mitigate the negative global impact of consumerism by purchasing from ethical and sustainable businesses.
It is a movement that involves being aware and informed about a product and what goes into making that product before deciding to purchase it.
For example, conscious consumers may use natural beauty products, wear recycled clothing or eat locally. They may purchase from businesses who give back to charity or include sustainable practices in their day-to-day business operations.
Who are conscious consumers?
Conscious consumers are those who recognize their purchasing power and choose to purchase from businesses whose practices align with issues important to them. They often research a company’s core values and mission before purchasing to determine whether or not that company deserves their support. These consumers typically fall into the millennial category, which Pew Research Center defines as those born between 1981 and 1996. To them, every purchase serves as a vote. Every time they swipe their card or press “Buy,” they decide which company to give more power to. They believe their purchases have the ability to make a difference in the world.
The Future of Conscious Consumerism
While conscious consumerism has become much more popular in today’s increasingly digital world, a lot of research has yet to be done on this topic.
More extensive research on the psychology behind consumers’ decisions to boycott will help guide businesses on creating successful marketing strategies in the future.
From what we already know, it is obvious that conscious consumers find a wide variety of issues and product features important, so businesses must recognize their appropriate customer segments and develop a compelling marketing plan for each.
They must also be aware of the fine line between effective self-promotion and over-promotion. Too much self-promotion about ethical and/or sustainable practices can quickly be seen as greenwashing and take away from their credibility. With the world becoming increasingly more transparent as technology improves, conscious consumerism is trending, and businesses must act accordingly if they wish to succeed.
Do you own or work for an ethical product business? We are always looking to learn more about small businesses that have a positive impact. Get in touch here.