Who Is Today’s UK Consumer – and Why Should Brands Take Note?

Woman shopping next to the amazon ads logo

Recent world events have shifted people’s priorities: from where they live to how they work and what they purchase. Here’s what this means for brands.

Consumers increasingly want the products they purchase and businesses they support to reflect their own values, with 84% of global consumers agreeing that, “more brands should do their part in helping the world, especially during difficult times like these.”[1]

For purpose-driven brands, this is good news. According to a recent report from Amazon Ads and research firm Environics[2] that measured consumer sentiment around purpose and sustainability, brands operating more responsibly can build stronger relationships with future and existing customers. Meaning that by incorporating more sustainable practices, brands can become more sustainable themselves.

Purpose drives purchase

Over the past few years, changes to lifestyle and circumstance due to economic uncertainty have given more people the time and incentive to evaluate their choices, and prioritise accordingly. 74% of UK consumers[3] say they have recently adapted their way of life to concentrate on things that matter to them, with purpose and sustainability being key areas of focus. 65% of respondents agree that sustainability has become more important in the last three years, and around a third (30%) cite climate change and global warming as top environmental issues.[4] And that’s not all. 50% of UK consumers are prepared to go out of their way to choose brands that create sustainable products or have sustainable production processes, showing that this sentiment doesn’t stop at the checkout aisle.[5]

Making it easier for consumers to shop sustainably

Through Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly programme, brands can showcase their sustainable products – on and off Amazon. Climate Pledge Friendly products have met one or more sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world and will have a label next to them so consumers can easily identify on the Amazon site.[6]

It’s a win/win for both businesses and consumers: a simple way to make a difference and showcase a brand’s progress toward purpose, while making it easier for sustainable customers to find the products they want.

This Climate Pledge Friendly programme ladders up to Amazon’s larger commitments to be net-zero carbon by 2040[7] and power operations through 100% renewable energy by 2025. In 2021, Amazon achieved 85%, and made 100 million deliveries using zero-emission vehicles in Europe.[8]

Walking the walk

For all brands, promoting purpose across advertising, in corporate messaging and on social media can resonate with customers, but they need to do more than just talk the talk. 87% of UK consumers[9]  believe more brands should do their part in helping the world, especially during difficult times.

Consumers want to see tangible results from a business’s sustainability efforts, and many brands are taking note. One example of this is the Healthy Lives Mission, an $800 million investment through 2030 launched by Johnson and Johnson Consumer Health in the US to advance human health while protecting the environment. The commitment is not just a tactic, but a mission baked into the brand across different areas of the business, with a focus on 1) fighting preventable diseases 2) improving product transparency and 3) reducing their environmental impact.[10]

Changing brand behaviour can’t be just a footnote on a policy document, either. Savvy consumers expect truth and follow-through. When debunking a brand’s sustainable claim is only an internet search away, it’s important to make sure your message is accurate – especially since 68% of UK consumers[11] say they’re prepared to pay more for brands, products and services that are genuinely authentic.

UK consumers are also prepared to shift their spend from brands that don’t deliver on their sustainability promises, with 77%[12] saying they’re tired of brands acting like they’re exempt from environmental responsibility.

This intentional switch creates an opportunity for purpose-driven brands to connect with new customers, and cement relationships with existing ones. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of UK consumers believe they can vote with their wallets to show support to brands that are good citizens, and over      half (57%) say they’re prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly products.[13]

How brands can take action

The majority of UK consumers (78%)[14] say they love it when a brand makes them feel inspired. Here are some brands that are leading by example and making an impact.

  • Italian coffee company, Lavazza, created a docu-film to highlight its ¡Tierra! project that aims to improve the living conditions, social development and economic growth of Colombia coffee farming communities while respecting the environment. The project has restored coffee plantations by replacing illegal crops with legal crops, giving a hundred families back their economic independence, and greatly improving their living conditions.[15]
  • Indigo Jamm is a company out of Surrey, UK that produces thoughtfully crafted wooden toys for children 12 months and up. Their focus is on designing sustainable, high-quality toys, with the goal of “inspiring long-lasting fun whilst encouraging development through safe play.” To drive awareness and increase sales, Indigo Jamm teamed up with UK-based agency Molzi for an Amazon Ads campaign that focused on the brand’s sustainability story.[16]
  • Hyundai Motor America’s goal is to transform human mobility by creating cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation and production. The group aims to become carbon neutral by 2045 and is investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology like its NEXO SUV. Hyundai uses Amazon Ads to connect with customers who are passionate about protecting the planet.[17]

Not only are these brands driving purpose themselves, their actions are inspiring consumers to follow suit. With 80% of UK consumers[18] believing brands should do more to encourage people to be more conscious consumers and over two-thirds agreeing that brands play an important role in advocating for positive social and environmental change, brands have an important role in setting the agenda for their industry and consumers alike.

Sustainability spotlight

British multinational consumer goods brand, Reckitt, is no stranger to leading with purpose, as witnessed in its Generation Rewear campaign.[19]

Through best practice guides and engaging educational videos, Reckitt taught customers (from fashion industry audiences to general consumers) how to use the fabric detergent Vanish, and demonstrated how the product could help clothes last longer and reduce waste.
Speaking at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Cigdem Kurtulus, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer of Reckitt, explained how the campaign was intended to inspire more sustainable fashion habits, and laddered up to the company’s purpose, which is to “protect, heal and nurture for a cleaner and healthier world.”

Reckitt teamed up with Amazon Ads and media agency Zenith to create a media strategy that would promote the ‘Rewear’ documentary series and engage the right consumers. By tapping into Amazon Ads’ ability to reach relevant audiences through Amazon shopping signals, and by using touchpoints like Fire TV, Reckitt was able to deliver a large-screen, impactful experience with purpose at the forefront. The results followed: the campaign reached 50 million people in just a couple of months and a purchase intent for Vanish increased by 200%.

Building a sustainable strategy

Consumers want to engage with brands that inspire them and align with their values. Whether it’s showing them what percentage of profit is going toward sustainability practices, or sharing how the products and services they buy positively impact the world they live in, these stories can and should become an integral part of brand content strategy. The reward for these efforts is a loyal audience willing to use their purchasing power to support your brand and its purpose-driving mission.

Looking for more ways to build a brand that makes an impact? You can still explore content from Amazon Ads’ annual conference unBoxed, including the day 2 keynote on the importance of leading with your brand’s values.

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