German consumers continue to opt for sustainable products despite inflation and the looming energy crisis, a new survey has unveiled.
The GfK Sustainability Index, which is published every three months, has revealed that inflation is the new top concern among Germans, followed by climate change.
However, Italy and France rank above Germany in terms of sustainable purchasing among other European countries.
In July, purchases based on sustainability fell from 72% to 66% in Germany, with the change in consumer behaviour impacting the food sector in particular.
In the first half of 2022, sales of organic products were stable compared to the same period last year, while sales in the overall FMCG market declined by 2.8%.
Currently, consumers prefer to buy organic products at lower prices from discounters or private brands, the study noted.
The percentage of consumers who plan to buy sustainably in the next four weeks dropped slightly from 68% to 64%.
"People with low incomes, in particular, tend to hold back here. This was already observed in the previous month and is less surprising under the current circumstances," said Petra Süptitz, sustainability and consumer insights expert at GfK.
Willingness To Pay More
The willingness to pay more money for sustainable products remained almost constant (64% for everyday products) with certain consumer groups as they plan to continue buying sustainably.
Süptitz added, "Sustainability is deeply anchored in the values of Germans. Many consumers are currently looking for clever alternative strategies, especially when it comes to everyday products, in order to be able to shop sustainably while saving money.
"Nevertheless, there are consumer groups such as the Trend Surfers or the Alphas who continue to focus on brand-name products and see sustainability as a lifestyle aspect that they associate with quality, enjoyment and aesthetics. Companies should make sure that their products and services meet these different needs.”