Almost half of UK consumers said a retailer’s environmental agenda was important when shopping

Thursday 05 December 2019 | Press release
  • OC&C’s Retail Proposition Index reveals a major shift in what influences where people choose to shop, with two seemingly conflicting trends of value shopping and ethical consumerism both gaining popularity
  • Consumers don’t think the industry is responding, and there is growing mistrust in our leading retailers
  • For the first-time, attitudes to sustainability are influencing where people shop
  • At the same time, great value is an increasingly important marker of difference for retailers and three of the UK’s favourite 10 retailers this year were discounters
  • M&S Simply Food beats John Lewis, Amazon and Aldi to become the UK’s favourite retailer this year

A backdrop of prolonged economic uncertainty and a resulting lack of consumer confidence has made the retail landscape tricky to navigate in 2019. OC&C’s Retail Proposition Index reveals that it is more important than ever for retailers to have flexible strategies that can adapt to consumer attitudes and needs as they continue to shift.

Matt Coode, Partner, says: “For retailers to prosper in a challenging retail climate, they need to adapt quickly to changing consumer behaviours. Our research shows that sustainability, trust and value are the most important trends for consumers this year. We also see a dramatic slowdown in the rate at which consumers are favouring purely digital players, with physical stores taking on greater importance as part of omnichannel journeys”

Conscious shopping is a clear differentiator for UK consumers in this year’s Retail Proposition Index. Almost half (45%) of consumers said that a retailer’s impact on the environment is important to them when shopping, rising to 55% among the Millennials and Generation Z, who will drive over 90% of spending growth in the UK over the coming five years. Health and beauty brands were the first to address the environmental impact of their brands, and it is now vital that all brands have a strong and authentic sustainability strategy.

Another standout group is discount brands who are reaping the rewards by leading on low prices while increasing product proposition. For the first time, three of the top 10 retailers in the Index were discounters with Wilkos and Home Bargains joining Aldi in the top 10.

There have also been marked improvements outside the top 10, discount retailers have bucked a general trend of growing consumer mistrust in retailers. B&M, Poundland and Card Factory have all made material gains on their trust scores.

Matt Coode, Partner, continues: “It would be brave to predict that early 2020 will see a respite in either market pressure or mounting consumer expectations, but the successful retailers will be those that tread the perilous tightrope of offering value in the near term, whilst addressing their environmental impact and gaining consumer trust. Balancing these agendas profitably, will be no mean feat.”

The top 30 retailers of the Retail Proposition Index can be found below:


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