Health & Sustainability A Priority For Asian Consumers But Cost & Ease Remain Still A Barrier

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A newly released global public opinion study has found that the majority of people around the world are now willing to adopt healthy and sustainable behaviours, especially in Asia. However, there remains key impediments to action, with the main barriers being the perceived difficulty of making planet-positive changes as well as affordability, a consideration that has intensified in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The study, conducted by global market research firm GlobeScan, collected data from 27 countries around the world in June 2020 this year and involved approximately 27,000 participants. Designed with a range of corporate and nonprofit partners including IKEA, CVS Health, PepsiCo, Visa and WWF, the survey was centred on understanding the mindsets of consumers and the enabling factors that help them make healthier and more sustainable lifestyle choices. 

While the research revealed that across the world, there is strong willingness to make healthy and sustainable changes, the trend is particularly clear in Asia. Insights collected from 9,000 people across Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam showed that 81% of Asian consumers are now actively trying to improve their health and well-being, while 75% reported motivations to significantly lessen their environmental footprint. 

We can see that 2020 has firmly put health and sustainability on the agenda.

Wander Meijer, Director at GlobeScan Asia

Topping the list of global issues that citizens in Asia perceive as the most serious is the current Covid-19 crisis (94%), followed closely by climate change (91%) and air pollution (90%) – a strong indication of the widespread concerns consumers have about health in terms of their personal well-being as well as the planet. 

“We can see that 2020 has firmly put health and sustainability on the agenda,” explained Wander Meijer, director at GlobeScan Asia. “With that, Asian companies have an opportunity to educate, innovate, take leadership, and shape consumer behaviour.”

While the interest and willingness to adopt healthier and more eco-friendly behaviours is high, there remains a “gap between aspiration and action”, the research revealed. One of the key barriers to implementing action is the perceived difficulty of the behaviour, as people reported greater likelihood of altering their lifestyles if they believe it is an easy change. In Asia, the actions that people are most interested in taking include energy saving at home, looking after their financial well-being and prioritising mental health. 

Our ambition is to inspire and enable healthy and sustainable living and to make it affordable for the many people with thin wallets. Sustainable living should not be a luxury for the few.

Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer at Inter IKEA Group

Affordability is also a major consideration for consumers when it comes to enabling them to adopt healthy and sustainable behaviours, with the most suggested action that consumers advised companies to take being to reduce the cost of their environmentally-friendly products and services. These findings build on existing consumer research from GlobeScan released at the beginning of this year, which highlighted price as a major deterrent that prevented individuals from pursuing healthy and environmentally-friendly daily habits.  

“We will use these insights to accelerate our work and make the healthy and sustainable choice more accessible and attractive. It should simply be the default option,” said Lena Pripp-Kovac, the chief sustainability officer at Inter IKEA Group. “Our ambition is to inspire and enable healthy and sustainable living and to make it affordable for the many people with thin wallets. Sustainable living should not be a luxury for the few.”

Younger generations universally reported higher levels of eagerness to make an effort to become healthier and more sustainable. This finding was consistent around the world, with as many as 70% of Gen Z respondents and 66% of millennials saying they would like to be healthier and actively reduce their footprint. 


Lead image courtesy of Adobe Stock.


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