Scottish consumers expect retailers to be focused on sustainability, according to research from digital and data experts TWC, in collaboration with the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA). The findings showed that 63% of Scottish consumers agreed that retailers who don’t take sustainability or environmental issues seriously are likely to lose out in the future. This was higher than the figure for the total UK, at 54%.   

The research, which was conducted in June 2022, also revealed that 27% of Scottish consumers agreed that environmental and sustainability issues are influencing where they shop for groceries – but this represents a significant drop vs. TWC Trends Autumn 2021, at which time 38% of Scots agreed.  

TWC believes that, irrespective of their own actions, consumers expect businesses to be focused on sustainability – with 63% of Scottish consumers agreeing that all companies should be focussed on their environmental impact.  

Half of those surveyed claimed to want to make sustainable choices, but were not willing to pay for the benefit.

”The bottom line, particularly during the current cost-of-living crisis, is that many consumers are unwilling – or unable – to pay extra for sustainability benefits,” stated TWC.

Interestingly, consumers aged 55+ and those without children were most likely to agree to this statement and yet the research also highlighted these groups as the least likely to be struggling financially at the current time. This could suggest that it’s not just about being able to afford to pay a premium, but that some consumers are simply unwilling to pay more for this benefit, putting a greater onus on businesses to absorb any additional costs.  

Colin Smith, chief executive, SWA, said: “The research is very interesting as it clearly shows consumers are ever more conscious that change is required and businesses need to be more sustainable. However, if consumers are unwilling to pay for such investment, what does this mean for retailers and the wholesalers that supply them? Our breakfast briefing will look at this and discuss who will ultimately end up paying?” 

The TWC Trends Summer Edition 2022 series is based on the views and sentiments of over 1,000 consumers across the UK, plus a boosted sample for Scotland of 400 consumers. The research was conducted 14-18 June 2022.