British shoppers becoming increasingly ethically-driven

New research shows that ethics are playing an important role as shopping becomes increasingly tech-focused

British shoppers are buying in a far more ethical way than 10 years ago, with more than two thirds (66%) of Brits considering the ethics of a product before they purchase, according to a new study by global marketing firm McCann.

Comparatively, only 40% of French shoppers and 50% of Americans do the same. The global average was just over half, pitting the UK as the most ethically minded of the 11 countries profiled in McCann Worldgroup’s The Truth About Shopping research.

The British shopper isn’t totally virtuous however. The study reveals that despite Britain pioneering modern manners and etiquette, it doesn’t apply when it comes to the shopping environment. More than one in five Brits believe it is acceptable behaviour to buy an item of clothing online, wear it once, and then return it. Similarly, the same amount of people would excuse themselves from a business meeting with their boss to partake in an online sale to ensure they secure a coveted item of clothing. More surprisingly, over a third of British shoppers would be willing to enter into a competitive encounter with their fellow shoppers whilst in-store to ensure they secure a bargain and buy the last sale item.

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The study shows how British shoppers are getting increasingly tech-savvy when it comes to using online shopping. Privacy is still a key issue, with trust still a major barrier – in 2011, 77% of those profiled were happy for shopping behaviour data to be used by retailers, in 2014, this drops to 63%. However, two thirds of the UK said they would be willing to share personal information if there was some tangible benefit to their overall shopping experience.

Rodney Collins, McCann’s in-house-anthropologist and Truth Central regional director, who leads The Truth About Shopping research in Europe, said: “Even as technological innovations enable consumers to integrate the multi-fold practice of shopping deeper into their lives, the global financial downturn continues to impact shoppers the world over while deeper values aligned with sustainability and social good are increasingly shaping purchase decisions.”

This article was first published by Retail Times