Consumption, more attention to environmental impact and recycling

The results of the EY Future Consumer Index, 91% worried about their economic condition

Geopolitical and economic uncertainty and the climate issue are pushing Italian consumers to rethink their lifestyles and spending choices. Among the priorities: savings come first for consumers, followed by physical and mental health and sustainability, with 65% of consumers who will pay more attention to the environmental impact linked to consumption, also paying more attention to recycling (56%) and saving water (41%). They are among the results that emerged from the thirteenth edition of the EY Future Consumer Indexwhich surveyed the opinions of over 22 thousand citizens around the world, including 500 in Italy, outline the main changes in consumer behavior following global geopolitical and economic uncertainty.

The concerns of Italians

The study shows that 91% of Italian consumers are worried about their economic condition; 81% are more broadly concerned about the country’s economy. In general, among the major concerns of the interviewees we find, for 75%, the increase in the prices of electricity, gas and water, and, for 73%, the increase in the prices of food and fuel; health-related issues follow in second place, 62% believe that the costs of accessing quality healthcare are too high. Among the choices that have mainly influenced consumption, in addition to economic uncertainties, are also growing inflationary pressures and climate change, which are pushing Italian consumers to change their lifestyles, consequently modifying their spending models, and adopting more sustainable behaviors that help them save money. Between these, 76% of respondents will be more cautious about spending, and over 38% of Italians plan to spend more time at home in the futurewith a view to saving.

“Growing geopolitical tensions, inflation and economic disruptions are pushing consumers to review their consumption priorities, paying greater attention to prices and focusing on primary goods; in fact, as a consequence of this, over 50% of Italians declare which will cut purchases of non-essential products – says Stefano Vittucci, Consumer Products and Retail Sector leader of EY in Italy – This is indirectly leading to more sustainable actions, reducing food and food waste (94%), trying to repair things rather than replace them (75%), paying more attention to recycling (56%) and saving water (41%). In this context, companies find themselves having to respond to a demand for more convenient products focused on quality, health and sustainability aspects”.

Savings, categories

Consumers, therefore, have reduced the purchase of physical objects mainly to save money (75%) but also to help the environment (43%). Among the categories in which it is expected to spend less are fashion accessories (66%), clothing and footwear (53%), toys and gadgets (49%), consumer electronics (48%), but also beauty and cosmetics (47 %), household furniture (43%) and automobiles (40%).

Attention to health

After the economic-financial factor, physical and mental health comes second among consumers’ priorities. The stress linked to the economic situation and the concerns regarding the international scenario lead to a greater attention of people towards their personal health, resulting in a demand for healthier foods. 67% of Italians declare that they will be more aware and cautious about their mental health, monitoring its status via apps or smart devices (43% of respondents).

More sustainable consumption

Consumers, then, are increasingly sustainable (65% will pay more attention to the environmental impact linked to consumption) and, aware of their environmental impact (63% expect climate change to worsen in the next 6 months), are therefore changing their purchasing behaviors by adapting them to the new context: 75% try to repair things rather than replace them, 61% bring reusable bags when shopping and shopping, 56% recycle products after use and 41% try to save water. Furthermore, 46% of consumers pay more attention to the brand’s sustainable choices before switching to a new product (including less packaging and better ingredients).

Companies are also responding by creating new products or reformulating existing ones to make them healthier and more sustainable, however the high prices of sustainable products are still a deterrent to purchase (62%). However, consumers’ sustainable choices can be helped through greater transparency, but also more precise information from companies (for 59% of respondents). Not only that: alongside companies, governments are also expected to play a key role in ensuring a more sustainable future for the country: 82% of consumers believe that governments and regulators should act as leaders in promoting social and positive environmental issues, supporting companies in this key role to guarantee a more sustainable future (for 75% of respondents).