• Diversitech Team

A Guide to Sustainable Retail Industry 2023: Retail Trends & Consumer Behaviour

Updated: Sep 20


A Guide to Sustainable Retail Industry 2023 Retail Trends & Consumer Behaviour

As the world becomes increasingly more digitized, traditional retail is taking a hit. Brick-and-mortar stores are closing at an alarming rate, and even online retail giants like Amazon are feeling the pressure. But this doesn’t mean that retail is dead – in fact, it’s evolving. Sustainable retail is on the rise, and those who embrace it will be the ones who survive in the long run.


What is Sustainable Retail?


Sustainable retail is all about selling products and services in a way that minimizes negative environmental and social impacts while maximizing positive ones. This can include anything from sourcing sustainable materials to supporting fair trade practices. In general, sustainable retail businesses strive to operate in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible.


Related article: Take a look at our guide to sustainable materials


What is the Importance of Sustainability Retail?


The importance of sustainability retailing is to ensure that a company's products and services are environmentally friendly and do not have a negative impact on the planet. In the past few years, we’ve seen corporations take on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives as a way to lessen their environmental impact.


As awareness of the devastating effects of climate change grows, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. Seventy percent of millennials and Gen Z age groups say they would pay more for sustainable products, and nearly half of all consumers globally are choosing to buy from brands with a clear commitment to sustainability. This trend is only going to continue to grow, which means that sustainable retail is no longer a nicety – it’s a necessity.


Not only is sustainable retail important for the planet, but it’s also good for business. Customers are increasingly looking for brands that reflect their own values, and those who invest in sustainable practices are more likely to win their loyalty. What’s more, sustainable businesses often have lower operating costs thanks to improved energy efficiency and waste reduction.


Related Article: A guide to sustainable manufacturing


Sustainability Retail Trends and Stats


As the world moves ever closer to a more sustainable future, it's no surprise that the retail industry is taking note and making changes of its own. Here are some statistics to keep in mind as you consider how your business can become more sustainable this year.


According to the 2022 Deloitte CxO Sustainability Report, where Deloitte polled more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 21 countries, to examine leaders’ and companies’ concerns and opinions on climate change and environmental sustainability:

  • 71% said increasing the efficiency of energy use and using more sustainable materials (e.g. recycled materials, lower-emitting products) were the Top-Actions taken.

  • 56% said "Developing new climate-friendly products or services", followed by 48% "Requiring suppliers and business partners to meet specific sustainability criteria", were the necessary but harder to implement, needle-moving actions.

Consumer Trends and Stats


Consumer Demands and Its Effects on Sustainability Products in Retail

More customers are opting to make purchases from retailers and sellers who appear and prove to be eco-friendly and have ethical and transparent business practices.


In fact, people throughout the world are more inclined to purchase products from a company that has a strong commitment to sustainability. Additionally, if people can recycle both the product's packaging and the goods itself, they are more inclined to make an online buy.


In our Diverstech Global Guide to Sustainable Retail Industry 2023, where retail trends and consumer behaviour are clearly outlined, it's shown there is a shift in consumer loyalty towards sustainable brands.


Near 1 in 3 shoppers have claimed to have boycotted and stopped purchasing certain brands or products because they had ethical or sustainability-related concerns about them.


Consumers want retailers to help them adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, in such a complex world of manufacturing and global chain suppliers. Many want brands to take the lead with 64% of consumers wanting brands to reduce packaging, 50% wanting information on how to recycle, and 46% needing clarification on sourcing of products.


According to the Shopify eCommerce Market Credibility Study, a commissioned survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Shopify, September 2021:

  • Globally, 44% of consumers are more inclined to purchase from a company that has a strong commitment to sustainability

  • If they can recycle the product packaging, 46% of consumers are more inclined to make an online buy

  • The capacity to recycle the goods after use, according to 50% of consumers, affected their choice to buy from a certain brand

Market Resilience 2023 and Beyond


Despite many challenges that both retailers & consumers faced in 2021-2022, covid, inflation, and extreme shifts in consumer behavior, consumer demand for sustainable products has grown exponentially.


There has been a shift in the business world towards sustainable and ethical practices. This is in response to increasing public concern about the environmental and social impact of businesses.


The same Forrester Consulting study showed over a third of brands are establishing long-term goals and targets and distancing themselves from partners that are unwilling to meet their sustainability standards. In addition:

  • 40% of brands are making investments in utilizing more environmentally friendly packaging.

  • 60 percent of companies spend money on developing goods that reflect their corporate values (i.e., launching products that are green or social impact-focused)

  • Over a third of brands are spending money on setting long-term sustainability goals and objectives

  • In addition, 41% of businesses are spending money on increasing transparency about their sustainability strategy, targets, and progress to their customers to avoid accusations of greenwashing.


Furthermore, in order to increase hiring and employee retention, 35% of businesses report that they are investing in social and environmental concerns that are important to their workforce and also potential new employee attraction.


Verdict on the Sustainable Retail Industry


The sustainable retail industry is evolving every day, and businesses and brands that want to stay ahead of the curve need to start transforming their strategies now. We’ve outlined some of the most important sustainability trends for 2023 and beyond, as well as what consumer behaviour you can expect.


As consumers become more educated about the importance of sustainability, they will demand products and services from retailers that align with their values. Retailers who make this shift now will be best positioned for success in 2023 and beyond.


If you’re looking for ways to transform your business model and become a more sustainable retailer, we can help. Reach out to our team for help in getting started with sustainable retail products and the benefits brought both to your business and the world.

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