SustainabilityDespite concerns about rising prices, sustainability remains an important purchase criterion

Today and for the first time, the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK) published its GfK Sustainability Index that examines the attitudes of German consumers regarding sustainability. The latest data shows that sustainability remains important to consumers despite major changes such as the war in the Ukraine and that they are willing to spend more money on environmentally friendly products even despite inflation.

As a representative survey, the new GfK Sustainability Index shows the importance of sustainability aspects during purchasing decisions for major purchases and fast-moving consumer goods and measures consumers' willingness to pay a higher price for environmentally friendly products. The next index will be published in August 2022.

These are further insights:

  • For 74 percent of German consumers, environmental pollution is a serious problem, 69 percent fear climate change and 68 percent demand that companies act sustainably.
  • 81 percent of respondents are concerned about rising food prices, and 61 percent about rising prices for major purchases.
  • While in March 2022, 35 percent of consumers still expected to make major purchases with sustainability in mind over the next 12 months, this figure fell to 25 percent in April resulting from a declining propensity to buy in general due to the Ukraine war and inflation, among other things.
  • In the category of fast-moving consumer goods such as food or hygiene products, 72 percent of Germans consumers made sustainable purchases in March 2022, while in April this share decreased slightly to 68 percent.
  • At the same time, the index shows that consumers’ willingness to pay higher prices for sustainable products has remained largely stable since February despite slight declines.

Petra Süptitz, sustainability and consumer insights expert at GfK, noted: "Sustainability is deeply anchored in Germans' personal values. In a list of 57 personal values measured annually as part of the GfK Consumer Life Study, sustainability ranks 10th place, ahead of values such as health and fitness. Above all, consumers who are doing well financially and have few worries about their jobs are paying attention to sustainability and will continue to do so despite the current rise in prices. Sustainability will remain an important purchasing criterion despite major changes such as the Ukraine war. Consumers expect companies to act sustainably. The GfK Sustainability Index shows that they are willing to pay a higher price for this added value. Relying on a conventional, non-sustainable product portfolio now because of inflation and already high prices would be the wrong move for companies."

Source: GfK

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