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62% Buyers Back New Purchasing Habits to Support ESG
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62% Buyers Back New Purchasing Habits to Support ESG

ARMONK, N.Y, January 24, 2022: An IBM (NYSE:IBM) Institute for Business Value and National Retail Federation study, “Consumers want it all,” consumer preferences for sustainability. It also shows shopping journeys splintered across multiple digital, physical, and mobile touchpoints.

The new global study of over 19,000 surveyed consumers shows hybrid shopping is on the rise. This is because shopping habits consumers adopt out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming routine. Retailers must become more agile to meet customers where they are, integrating digital and in-store experiences.

Hybrid shopping mixes physical and digital channels in shopping journeys. The survey shows:
·  72% of respondents say they use the store as all or part of their primary purchase method.
·  Top reasons respondents choose to visit a store include touching and feeling products before buying them (50%). Picking and choosing their own products (47%) and getting products right away (43%), though what in-store shoppers are looking for varies by product category.
·  27% of respondents report hybrid shopping is their method of choice. Gen Z consumers surveyed are most likely to be a ‘hybrid shopper’ compared to other age groups.

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. Sustainability has become increasingly important to consumers’ purchase decisions and brand preferences since 2020.
·  Purpose-driven consumers, who choose products/brands based on sustainability, are now the largest segment of consumers surveyed (44%).
·  62% of respondents are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact, up from 57% two years ago.
·  Half of respondents say they’re willing to pay a premium for sustainability – an average premium of 70%. This is roughly double the premium from 2020.
·  However, there’s a gap between intention and action. Only 31% of respondents say that sustainable products made up most or all of their last purchase.

“While many surveyed consumers still place high value on the traditional in-store shopping experience, they also expect flexibility in their own shopping journey. This according to the behaviors prevalent to their age range, available tools and the product category they are looking to purchase.

“This ‘hybrid’ approach is a fundamental shift in consumer behavior,” says Mark Mathews, VP of R&D and Industry Analysis at the NRF.

GAPS

“The survey shows over the last year, sustainability became increasingly important to consumers. There’s still a gap between their intentions and actions due to lack of information in the buying process.

“Increasingly, it’s becoming essential that retail brands demonstrate sustainable choices and options in each step of the customer experience.  At the same time, hybrid shopping has taken hold in most categories, particularly in home goods and apparel.

“While stores continue to play the predominant role in grocery, hybrid shopping is growing in these categories too,” said Luq Niazi, Global Managing Director IBM Consumer Industries.

He adds, “Despite the impact of COVID-19, our experience with clients shows many leading retail brands are continuing to rapidly transform operations.

“customer experience and supply chains with technologies like AI, hybrid cloud and blockchain to help serve these multiple customer preferences.”

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