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Trends in customer needs

How should trends in customer needs influence your business practices? Learn more in this article where sustainability is used as a case study.

We can consider the trend that consumers are more interested in sustainability and products that are not damaging the environment as a way to match customer trends. In this article, we will explore that and some best practices.

In recent years, sustainability has become a central consideration for consumers when making purchasing decisions. Consumer trends highlighted the growing desire for more sustainable lifestyles, with individuals adopting various measures to support sustainability. This article explores how customer expectations have shifted towards businesses that are sustainable and embrace sustainability trends. We will delve into consumer behaviour, barriers to sustainable shopping, and the role of affordability in adopting sustainable practices. By understanding these expectations, businesses can better cater to consumer demands and foster a more sustainable future. It is important that you consider this no matter the stage of your business.

Using data from Deloitte who did a large research project on this topic, consumer trends reveal a significant increase in demand for sustainable brands [1]. Customers are actively seeking out companies that align with their values and embrace sustainability. One of the most prominent factors driving this shift is the desire to reduce single-use plastics, with over two-thirds of respondents adopting this change. Additionally, consumers are actively supporting businesses that prioritise environmental sustainability and ethical practices. Younger millennials and Gen Z are particularly engaged in environmental issues, while ethical considerations matter more to Gen Z specifically.

While sustainability is a key consideration for many consumers, certain barriers hinder widespread adoption. Inconvenience and lack of interest are significant obstacles when it comes to cutting back on single-use plastics. When a business positions itself as ethical or environmentally friendly, they also sometimes face the perception of being expensive. Apathy is another obstacle, particularly concerning reducing meat and animal product consumption, where scepticism about the impact of such changes can arise. Affordability also plays a role in the adoption of sustainable practices. Research indicates that consumers with higher household incomes are more likely to embrace sustainable shopping and modify their behaviour accordingly. In comparison, Deloitte’s research found that lower-income groups tend to be more engaged in specific areas, such as cutting back on air travel and overall consumption.

To meet customer expectations for sustainability, businesses must embrace sustainability trends and communicate their efforts effectively. Consumers expect brands to actively engage in sustainability initiatives and transparently showcase their commitment. This includes reducing single-use plastics, incorporating ethical practices, and addressing climate change concerns. Moreover, brands need to address affordability concerns by offering sustainable options at various price points. By overcoming barriers, such as convenience, cost, and apathy, businesses can foster greater engagement with sustainability and create a positive impact on consumer behaviour.

Reflecting on how these trends might impact your business and how you approach communicating with your customers about sustainability and its importance is a good practice for all business owners and managers to take on.

Share your thoughts

Have you noticed any customer trends in your business recently? If so, what are they and how are they changing your business?


1. Deloitte. Shifting sands: How consumer behaviour is embracing sustainability [Internet]. Deloitte Switzerland. Deloitte; 2020. Available from:

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