Price beats sustainability according to new public opinion study

Rocketing energy and food bills, wage stagnation and a mortgage crisis have left pandemic-weary Britons looking for value at any cost.

gray and red shopping carts

The 2024 Consumer Voice Report: Tackling the Brand Crisis’ includes responses from 2,000 UK adults. The results show that price is now the overriding factor in purchasing decisions and choosing which brands to buy. 

While 70% of those involved in the study agreed that sustainability remains important, cost leads people to abandon brands and look elsewhere more than any other aspect. This shows how ongoing economic challenges, which began at the start of the pandemic and have continued through inflation and energy crises, continue to threaten people’s ability to make more environmentally-friendly choices. 

Published by ServiceNow, the Consumer Voice Report also found that 67% of respondents also admitted to having less brand loyalty than they did two years ago, two-fifths believe they now have to spend more on the same items and services compared with 2022, and 77% say this is the direct result of rising prices. 

‘According to this report, 67% of UK consumers are less loyal to brands now than they were two years ago,’ said Jo Causon, CEO, The Institute of Customer Service. ‘This coincides with our UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), showing a record fall in satisfaction in January 2024. The UKCSI now stands at its lowest point since 2015, and nearly 41% of customers who are dissatisfied with a business say they avoid using it again – suggesting that declining service levels may be causing customers to vote with their feet.’

‘Whilst ServiceNow’s report also suggests cost-of-living challenges are prompting some customers to switch to lower-cost options that don’t offer a consistent service experience, businesses are unlikely to retain new customers who may initially be tempted to switch supplier in an effort to save money,’ he continued. ‘Our own research also shows that 31% of customers are prepared to pay more for better service versus opting for the low-price no-frills option.’

More on sustainability: 

How financial institutions meet ESG requirements through data and analytics

Seedling, the touring art project asking hard questions about parenting in the climate crisis


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