While the environmental challenges are imminent and deconsumerism is considered as inevitable for the majority of European consumers, Oney and OpinonWay’s study on sustainable consumption is the occasion to go forgo preconceived ideas and show that consumers want to take societal and environmental criteria into consideration when making their purchases. The study also highlights that consumers are attentive to brand’s commitments and that this impacts their final purchasing choices.
Croix – February 17th, 2020. With over 35 years in the business, Oney has acquired a true expertise of the purchasing and payment processes, allowing it to understand European consumers’ behaviour, as well as decipher the trends that will transformer tomorrow’s purchases. In partnership with OpinionWay, Oney Group is presenting a second study on consumer expectations and concerns in four countries – France, Spain, Portugal and Hungary – this time with a particular focus on sustainable consumption.
Citizens are aware of the reality of global warming and the depletion of resources. But what about consumers? Are they ready to change their paradigm regarding environmental challenges? What are their consumption habits? What actions are they implementing? The study conducted by Oney and OpinionWay answers these questions.
A pan-European concern
90% of European consumers say they are sensitive to sustainable consumption and believe that they are taking action to achieve this objective. To define this concept of sustainable consumption, Europeans put forward 3 main criteria:
- Food waste is the main concern for European consumers, notably 68% of French and 66% of Portuguese consumers;
- Planned obsolescence lands second place with almost 50% of respondents (50% of Hungarians, 49% of Portuguese, 46% of French and 41% of Spanish people).
- Product manufacturing methods are now the third most important concern for Europeans (more than 30% in total, of which 34% in France).
These preoccupations are some of several focus points to work on to reach mindful consumption habits.
Europeans willing to turn towards a more virtuous model...
With this in mind, Oney wanted to know whether consumers’ environmental aspirations were having an impact on consumption patterns. The study notes that over the last 3 years, responsible practices have increased, and nearly one in every two consumer is reaching towards more organic products, more locally-produced goods, is sorting their waste, buys recyclable and/or recycled products. For Mylène Engelspach, Oney’s Director of Processing, Communication and CSR: “This study is an important indicator that should enable Oney Bank to strengthen its positioning in favour of sustainable consumption for the benefit of all European consumers”.
In addition, consumers are concerned about their ecological footprint and are therefore turning to alternative purchasing methods, including second-hand products. 80% of European consumers say they have already bought second-hand goods. This is also the case for 89% of Spanish and 85% of French consumers. Technological innovations are no stranger to these new practices, since around 60% of consumers have made their purchases via digital marketplaces. Furthermore, over 50% of those surveyed said they had also made purchases directly with private individuals.
Rental is also particularly in use in Portugal and Hungary, where respectively 73% and 78% of consumers have already resorted to it.
While price remains an unavoidable criterion, new factors for selection are emerging. Impact on health is the second most important criterion in Spain and Portugal, with respectively 65% and 57% of consumers considering it to be a key factor in their choice of a product. The majority of French consumers are still attached to product performance and durability, with 54% of them declaring that the lifespan of products has become a criterion of choice. In the same way, the reputation of companies, which is of less interest to the Hungarians (29%), is still important for the French as 43% of them take it into account when they have to make a purchase. Finally, energy consumption is one of the main criteria of choice for 57% of Hungarian respondents, as opposed to other countries where less than one out every two respondents considered it a main criterion.
...But calling for proactive brand engagement
If consumers are acting daily to change their consumption habits, a large part of them remains pessimistic about the ability of companies to address their expectations on sustainable development and responsible consumption. More than half of the respondents do not believe in the promises of brands concerning sustainability. And they are overwhelmingly sceptical about the possibility of responding to climate change through technological innovations. For instance, only 12% of French and 16% of Portuguese people think technological progress will help limit global warming.
However, this issue is the main expectation of European consumers regarding companies: 96% of Portuguese, 95% of Hungarians, 92% of French and Spanish consumers want companies to be engaged. Moreover, consumers want companies to help them improve their practices by offering support to their customers for more responsible products and practices. These practices should be seen in the context of an ongoing trend towards deconsumerism, which is considered inevitable by 78% of Hungarians, 74% of Portuguese, 68% of French and 58% of Spanish people.
Thus, it is crucial for companies to meet consumers’ expectations and aspirations, as they are largely ready to change their habits and go along with sustainable consumption: more than 80% of those surveyed are willing to consume more organic products, to limit polluting personal leisure activities, to pay more for a product coming from responsible sources, and to favour alternative modes of transportation.
The banking sector at the heart of this paradigm shift
Consumers’ expectations of banks are clearly changing. Today, customer relations and advising are considered a prerequisite and are no longer seen as an additional service, since more than 80% of those surveyed want to be able to benefit from free advice in order to optimise their budget. However, this relationship is no longer reserved for personal optimisation, as customers would like environmental aspects to be taken into account: nearly 80% of consumers would like banks to put in place tools to measure the carbon impact of purchases (87% of Portuguese, 79% of Hungarian and Spanish and 77% of French people).
What’s more, Europeans are ready to reward good performers. 75% of those surveyed are ready to choose their bank according to its mindful and sustainable commitments, such as setting up low-interest loans for sustainable purchases or partnerships with environmentally engaged companies. What is new is that almost 50% of consumers (65% of Hungarians, 58% of Spaniards, 55% of Portuguese and 47% of French) are inclined to participate in the effort, as they claim to be willing to pay 5 to 10% more to support their bank’s actions, a sign that a company’s commitment to sustainable consumption is as important a criterion as its pricing.
Oney, a player committed to sustainable consumption
As a leader in the field of innovative payment solution and buying journey, Oney is aware of these new criteria and its role in a world where the environmental challenges are an emergency. Oney is therefore mobilising all its teams to encourage its stakeholders to take action for more mindful consumption habits.
For example, in Italy, in partnership with e-Price, Oney has initiated a no-cost split payment offer for all purchases of energy-efficient household appliances. This type of solution is intended to be extended to all countries where the group is present, in conjunction with its partners. This action is in line with Oney’s desire to contribute to a fairer, more humane and sustainable world.
Who are we?
We are a different, unique, commercial bank. We rely on our original positioning and the expertise we have developed over more than 35 years to design innovative payment solutions and financial services. Every day, our 2,600 talented people around the world reinvent banking, for the benefit of a more humane relationship, with the mission of “Giving everyone the freedom to be and to act”. With our 500 retail and e-merchant partners, we support the projects of more than 7.6 million customers in Europe by offering them memorable shopping experiences in-store and online. Since 22 October 2019, we have two shareholders: BPCE with 50.1% and Auchan Holding with 49.9%.
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Download our European study on sustainable consumption