Supporting sustainable development and environmental programs is one of the ways that manufacturers can show consumers that they have listened to their concerns and are addressing them. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of social responsibility from brands, and are rewarding manufacturers with their gratitude and their wallets: socially responsible brands are frequently associated with high quality, uniqueness, naturalness, and support for local producers.
Consumers buy the changes they want to see in the world
Sustainable development strategies take different forms in different countries, but they all share one thing: consumers purchase the changes they want to see in the world. Manufacturers face unique advantages and challenges depending on how developed a country’s economy is and what perceptions the government and corporations have regarding ecological issues. In general, trends show that consumer demand for eco-friendly products grows along with the country’s economy overall and reflects rising living standards.
The demand for eco-friendly products in Russia
Two-thirds of Russians (62%) feel the social responsibility to alter their behavior if it will reduce harm to the environment.
A Nielsen study showed that only 12% of respondents in Russia currently purchase green products. This is one of the lowest rates in the world. For comparison, in China, India, and Vietnam (countries with some of the highest rates), the percentage of citizens who purchase eco-friendly goods is 50%, 57%, and 66% respectively.
Inaccessibility is the main barrier preventing Russian consumers from purchasing natural products. Half (49%) of Russian respondents said that they don’t buy green due to the high cost, and only 14% said that it is easy to find such products on store shelves. Those surveyed said that they would prefer to buy dairy products (88%), water (55%) and frozen meat and seafood (51%) from local producers.
57% of respondents in Russia said that it was “extremely” or “very” important to them that companies implement environmental protection programs. Among the study participants, Generation Z (15–20-year-olds) were the most concerned about environmental issues and expressed the most interest in switching over to organic products.
Given that social responsibility is a relatively new trend in the Russia market, few brands have incorporated it into their marketing communications. In many product categories, however, it provides significant opportunities for differentiation.
“When brands associate themselves with the idea of sustainable development, it helps create an emotional connection with consumers. In some cases, this may be a way for brands to reposition themselves as premium or avoid competing exclusively on price,” says Konstantin Loktev, director of analytics and consulting at Nielsen Russia.
How the idea of sustainable development affects the global eco products market
As more eco-friendly products make their way to market and consumers’ expectations grow, it is getting more difficult to stand out in the crowd. In order to succeed, companies will need to invest in product development, testing, and research. They also must manage their marketing communications and explain why their products do a better job of meeting their consumers’ demands. Here are some of the most impactful trends that are influencing the global “green” market:
— Developing markets are growing faster. In developing markets, it is easier for manufacturers to tap into this trend and convert it into an additional source of income and customer loyalty. Manufacturers and consumers in developing markets are likely to catch up on the eco trend quickly, and may even outpace competitors in developed countries. This is a great opportunity for businesses to launch local brands or expand their presence.
— Technology will make it possible to personalize eco-products. Technological developments will make it possible to personalize eco products. Consumers will be able to customize certain ingredients based on their particular needs.
— The influence of brands that support the idea of sustainable development will increase. Consumers will remain loyal to brands that care about them, their families, and the planet as a whole. But companies will have to put in some effort to convey the benefits of their eco-products to customers. Consumers will demand that companies provide data to back up claims that they are helping to improve living standards and the environment.
For businesses searching for a way to differentiate their products on the Russian market and grow a base of loyal customers, offering green products may be a great way to do just that.