The meaning of responsible consumption have changed and left consumers divided.
The Informed Consumer study conducted by design agency Kuudes Kerros and professor Arto O. Salonen has revealed that consumers have been dividing into two clear groups. On the one hand, the majority of consumers have faith in their ability to make a positive change and believe that sustainable consumption is easier than ever, but on the other hand, a growing number of insecure consumers have become even more cautious as a result of the declining economic situation.
Finnish consumers have stopped sacrificing, instead they’re investing in happiness.
New responsible consumption no longer means sacrifice, it’s about contributing to one’s own happiness. Ethical choices are made in order to find inner balance, not as a response to external pressure.
This is good news for business as well – consumers are willing to invest in happiness much more than making up for a guilty conscience.
Here is an example from a research team member, “feeling meaningful is about having a role in a bigger entity than yourself: when I buy a Fair Trade product I know my actions have an influence all the way to the farm. And feeling meaningful is much more important now than all those experiences I could buy with money saved by buying cheaper products.”
An in-depth and broad study on consumption motives
The latest update from the study published in 2014 has been released on 2 June 2016.
The research consisted of a nationwide quantitative study (1023 persons), refined with nine in-depth qualitative interviews and scenario methods that help to define future developments. The study provides concrete information on the values, attitudes, criteria and information sources that guide informed consumption. The consumers were divided into eight groups: The dreamer, The bystander, The caretaker, The ambitious, The autocrat, The uncompromising, The devoted and The curious.
Kuudes Kerros is currently starting a similar in-depth research project in Sweden.
The results will be published early in 2017.