Over 70% of Consumers Would Change Their Shopping Habits After Learning a Brand Isn’t Operating Sustainably, Sensormatic Solutions by Johnson Controls Survey Finds

  • Johnson Controls brand Sensormatic Solutions surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers and found 81% are concerned or very concerned about the environment’s future

  • Nearly half of consumers believe businesses must lead the charge toward sustainability

  • Most consumers believe that reducing material waste and greenhouse gas emissions are the most critical outcomes retailers should pursue

Sensormatic Solutions, the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls, released its survey results related to U.S. consumer sentiment towards sustainability. A plurality of respondents (49%) believes that the responsibility for implementing sustainable practices falls on corporations and retailers, as opposed to individuals or government regulators. The new data highlights that the era of retail responsibility for sustainable initiatives is in full swing.

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The survey also showed that consumers are highly invested in shopping sustainably. Over half of those surveyed—53%—said they would use a brand or store less frequently if they discovered that a brand or store wasn’t operating sustainably, and 18% said they would stop shopping with that retailer altogether. Furthermore, 70% of consumers say they are willing to pay at least 5% more for products that can demonstrate a fully sustainable supply chain—even though cost is the most cited barrier to sustainable shopping (55%) closely followed by consumers’ perception that the stores they frequent do not offer many sustainable options (47%).

“This survey speaks to a belief we’ve long held: prioritizing sustainable solutions is simply good business,” said Kim Melvin, global leader of marketing, Sensormatic Solutions. “Facilitating sustainable retail operations has been at the heart of Sensormatic Solutions business for some time; but now, that same sentiment is mirrored among consumers. American shoppers of all ages want to see brands make investments that support responsible retail at all levels. In fact, they don’t see businesses engaging in sustainable operations as an option—they see it as an obligation.”

Consumers want to know that their dollars are going to companies they trust to do the right thing when it comes to the environment. Nearly 90% of consumers think that retailers don’t do enough to showcase their sustainability efforts, and one-third of consumers don’t trust the claims brands make about their green products.

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Perhaps the most compelling takeaway around corporate responsibility is consumers’ belief that retailers’ sustainability work is far from complete. Over 90% of respondents said that it’s important to them that retailers continue to improve environmental performance and energy management in their stores. Sixty-two percent would like to see this done through a switch to sustainable packaging alternatives, and 54% would like retailers to enhance inventory intelligence to avoid overstocks, wasted goods, added deliveries while optimizing fulfillment methods, and more.

Consumers held varying definitions of “sustainable practices,” ranging from installation of energy-efficient displays to utilization of alternative packaging, and participation in recycling programs, among others. As such, when exploring options to bolster sustainable retail initiatives, retailers can decide which options work best for their business model. Modern retail analytics platforms, like Sensormatic IQ, can help support that. Sensormatic IQ’s integrated platform provides outcomes-based insights about enterprise operations which can highlight areas of opportunity for sustainable improvements.

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