Consumers Worldwide Eager to Adopt Sustainable Lifestyles, Alibaba Research Finds
3 Mins Read
Alibaba Group’s latest ESG report reveals insights into consumer attitudes toward sustainability and the role businesses can play in promoting more conscious choices.
According to independent research commissioned by Alibaba Group, a vast majority (73%) of consumers are eager to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, especially in emerging Asian markets (87%). However, the study identifies inconvenience and high costs as the primary barriers hindering the widespread adoption of sustainable practices.
The research, titled “The Sustainability Trends Report 2023,” surveyed more than 14,000 consumers across 14 markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. It highlights convenience (53%) and affordability (33%) as key drivers for encouraging behavioral changes toward sustainability, while businesses can simplify the process by offering more sustainable options.
Yet, despite the growing interest in sustainability, consumers remain skeptical (38%) about the genuineness of businesses’ claims regarding “sustainable” products. Only 15% of respondents expressed complete trust in the sustainability claims of products, prompting businesses to focus on building trust, particularly among European consumers.
Alibaba Group aims to address this “say-do” gap challenge by reducing inconvenience, increasing sustainable choices, and optimizing supply chains to maintain reasonable costs for consumers. Liu Wei, Alibaba Group ESG Strategy Lead, emphasized the significance of sustainable consumption for both the environment and businesses.
As part of its commitment to sustainability, Alibaba published its latest Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, disclosing its Scope 3+ decarbonization progress, with over 180 million consumers participating in carbon emission reduction through its carbon ledger platform. The report also highlighted the availability of 1.91 million low-carbon friendly products from 409 brands on Tmall and Taobao, promoting sustainable practices to a broader consumer base.
The research further indicates that consumers from emerging Asian markets exhibit the greatest willingness to learn about making more sustainable online purchases. Approximately three in four consumers (76%) worldwide expressed interest in receiving more information about sustainable practices, with the highest proportion in the Philippines (93%), Indonesia (91%), and the UAE (90%). APAC consumers continue to show keen interest in embracing sustainable and healthier alternatives.
Consumers’ willingness to engage in sustainable practices varies across regions, with respondents from emerging Asian markets (88%) displaying a stronger inclination to learn about sustainable online shopping compared to those in developed Asian markets (66%) and Europe (66%). Preferences for sustainable practices, such as choosing sustainable packaging or recycling, also vary across regions.
The report highlights that convenience and affordability remain essential factors driving consumer choices. Lack of information (48%) and high prices of sustainable products (45%) emerge as the primary barriers to adopting more sustainable lifestyles. Over half of the consumers (53%) would prioritize sustainability if it were convenient, especially in Asian markets (61%). Additionally, one-third of respondents (33%) perceive sustainable living as unaffordable, with Thailand (84%) leading the trend, followed by the UAE (41%) and Spain (37%).
Businesses have the power to facilitate sustainable choices, with 61% of consumers stating that making sustainable products more affordable is crucial. Reducing single-use plastics and packaging (55%) and offering a broader selection of sustainable products and services (47%) are also impactful ways businesses can promote sustainability.
However, businesses must address the trust deficit among consumers regarding sustainability claims. Approximately 23% of consumers “do not trust very much” the claims made by businesses about their products’ sustainability. France (31%), Spain (31%), Germany (30%), and the U.K. (30%) exhibit the highest levels of skepticism. Moreover, nearly two in five consumers (38%) view sustainable products as a marketing tactic to sell products at higher prices, particularly in Thailand (56%), France (48%), and Singapore (47%).