While brand loyalty and price may have been the most prominent factors for making a purchase in the past, an increasing number of consumers worldwide have placed a high value on another factor: sustainability.
Consumer sustainability trends have been on the rise. Global search trends have shown an increase in the number of searches relating to sustainability, according to Think with Google — with 82% of shoppers worldwide saying that sustainability is more top-of-mind now than before COVID-19.
For the do-it-yourself (DIY) and home improvement industry, retailers must look ahead to how this consumer sustainability trend will impact the future of shopping. As consumer demands change, retailers must consider how it will affect every part of their organization, including everything from your corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and production locations to how your organization positions itself to consumers.
Explore why consumer sustainability trends should matter to your retail organization — and learn what you can do to stay ahead of shifting consumer demands.
Sustainability: The New Must-Have for the DIY Home Improvement Retail Market
The global home improvement market was valued at $333.7 billion in 2021, according to a report from market intelligence firm BlueWeave Consulting, with the European market holding the largest share due to higher disposable income in this region. The report predicts continued global growth for the home improvement industry — attributing part of its success to the continued growth of online channels, including digital shopping options like ecommerce and same-day delivery.
While the DIY and home improvement market is expanding, so are the sustainability concerns of shoppers. Global Google searches for “ethical online shopping” grew 600% in 2020, according to Think with Google, and searches for “ethical brands” increased 300%.
The environmental actions of an organization could also make or break a sale. Thirty percent of global shoppers said it would influence their buying decision, according to a 2022 consumer survey from the professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
From switching to solar energy or investing in environmentally friendly building materials to installing energy-efficient lighting, DIY and home improvement shoppers worldwide have a long list of projects with a sustainable spin. However, their sustainability concerns don’t end with products. Shoppers also want retailers and brands to engage in sustainable practices to win the DIY and home improvement sale.
Retailer Highlight: The Home Depot Supports Sustainability
Multinational DIY and home improvement retailer The Home Depot launched its Eco Actions program in 2021, which aims to help its customers “identify household and garden products that have less of an impact on the environment.” Additionally, the program hopes to encourage suppliers to offer more sustainable options.
Consumer Sustainability Trends: Shoppers Demand a Return to Quality Products
For many shoppers, the era of single-use products is coming to an end. As demand for sustainable products grows, the anticipated outcome is shoppers who are more willing to buy fewer high-quality products over more low-quality products — even if it means paying a higher price.
And the data is clear: Consumers will pay more for a product if it comes from a brand they trust.
Forty-six percent of U.S., 47% of British, 44% of French, and 30% of German shoppers say they would pay more for a product if it comes from a brand they trust, according to Salsify’s “Consumer Research 2022” report. Product quality and the overall brand experience are vital to building this trust for many consumers.
“Nowadays, customers need to know the company’s bias, its positioning, and its values,” says Bénédicte Sabadie, head of retail and luxury sectors at the professional services firm Deloitte. “This is already the case and will be even more so in the future.”
The anticipated outcome? Product craftsmanship will be an essential consideration for consumers.
Retailer Highlight: The Socialite Family Provides High-Quality, Locally Made Products
For example, European retailer The Socialite Family works with local tradespeople to offer locally made products — which provide higher quality and a smaller carbon footprint.
“It is a lot easier to work with local tradespeople. Travel is simpler, which makes our processes and our creations more flexible,” says Marianne Gosset, co-founder of The Socialite Family. The Socialite Family creates 95% of its products in France, Italy, or Portugal.
Highlight Sustainability and Craftsmanship With Engaging Shopping Experiences
Seventy-six percent of U.S., 75% of British, 76% of French, and 85% of German shoppers report buying home improvement supplies online, according to the 2022 Salsify consumer report.
As consumer sustainability trends continue to rise in importance for shoppers, it will become even more essential for retailers and brands to highlight these attributes on the product page.
From emphasizing the eco-friendly features of building materials to sharing brand value statements that emphasize commitment to environmental causes, engaging product content must be at the center of the shopper experience for DIY and home improvement shoppers.
Learn more about global DIY and home improvement shoppers in the Salsify “Consumer Research 2022” report, which breaks down insights into the buying journey across the U.S., Great Britain, France, and Germany.