British shoppers spent more than £100bn on ethical products and investments last year, as the twin crises of the pandemic and climate change prompted significant lifestyle changes.
Plant-based food, and products, and secondhand clothes, furniture and even cars saw demand surge in the last year with ethical spending rising to £122bn in 2020 – up by almost a quarter compared to the previous year – according to a new Co-op report on ethical consumerism.
The amount people spent on ethical products and services was £61bn in 2020, up almost 30 per cent from 2019, while £57bn was spent on ethical savings and investment products.
Eco-travel and transport sales soared up, by 70 per cent more to £12.2bn, while the market for greener energy choices, including more energy-efficient household appliances and gadgets, grew by a third.
Last month research from Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) UK found that 35 per cent of Brits were more likely to consider an Electric Vehicle (EV) as their next car as a result of the fuel crisis, with 32 per cent stating they would buy it second hand.
The secondhand market beyond cars also saw a boom, as more people bought pre-loved clothes with sales up by almost a quarter to £864m. At the same time, delays caused by the global supply chain crisis helped to drive £100m more in second-hand furniture sales, which hit £837m.
While sales of greener products rose though, ethical and social concerns cost some businesses almost £4bn in sales, £600m more than the previous year after shoppers boycotted them.
Shoppers are “turning up the heat to boycott businesses which fail to act on ethical or social concerns,” warned Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op Group.