With the cost of living continuing to increase while wages remain stagnant, shoppers – particularly generation z and young millennials – are choosing to spend their money differently from older generations. They are choosing to purchase experiences over material items.

This shift in behaviour has come hand in hand with the movement towards social consciousness, sustainability and a more mainstream appreciation for the ethical values of the items people are using and consuming.

One way to differentiate yourself is by being more socially conscious as a business and appeal to shoppers’ growing ethical and sustainable values. To gain a greater understanding of the topic, HIM spoke to more than 1,000 shoppers in July 2017 and found out that more than half feel that ethical food and drink products are important – 65% also considered food traceability important.

Furthermore, the results identified that the majority of consumers view brand transparency as important. In fact, this is so important to shoppers that nearly one-third of consumers have switched away from one brand to another because it was more environmentally or socially responsible.

Consumers are becoming more demanding about information on sourcing, production and values to determine whether they can trust a brand and whether a brand’s values match up with their own. Being completely transparent and upfront about this will prevent consumers hunting for information from third-party sources, but most importantly help to gain trust and build customer loyalty.

To tap into this movement, retailers should look to sell products from local suppliers and clearly communicate it when they do so. In addition, introducing campaigns that support the local community will also work well. Shoppers want to see brands and retailers supporting their local community.

If retailers are able to support local suppliers, build trust with local residents and be seen as a positive pillar in the community, then it’s highly likely that they will attract a wider range of shoppers and see positive returns as a result.