India 08.11.2023

Indian Consumers' Evolving Priorities Towards Environment and Sustainability


In the latest GfK Global Consumer Life Study, we delve into the hearts and minds of urban Indian consumers, uncovering their views on the environment and sustainability. The findings reveal that Indian consumers are taking a stand for a more eco-conscious future.

A Shift Towards Environmental Responsibility

It is heartening to discover that 2 in 3 Urban Indian consumers surveyed are prioritizing environmentally responsible actions taken by businesses. These actions include using eco-friendly materials, reducing carbon footprints, and embracing sustainable practices. This significant percentage speaks to the growing awareness and concern for the environment among the Indian populace.

Notably, 51% of the surveyed urban Indian consumers expressed their belief that addressing environmental issues is primarily the government's responsibility. They see the government as the driving force in bringing about comprehensive change in the environmental landscape. This emphasis on government intervention underscores the urgency of the environmental challenges we face and the expectations of citizens for proactive and effective policies.

Health and Eco-Friendliness: A Dual Priority

GfK Global Consumer Life Study also brought to light the multiple dimensions of consumer preferences. In India, 1 in 3 Urban Indian consumers surveyed prioritize natural products for their health benefits, while 25% opt for them because of their eco-friendliness. This dual focus on health and eco-friendliness is indicative of a more holistic approach to consumption. It's not just about the individual, but also about the planet.

This insight highlights an exciting opportunity for businesses to develop products that address both health and environmental concerns. Indian consumers are demonstrating a willingness to align their personal well-being with a commitment to sustainability.

Sustainable Mobility: The Indian Drive

When it comes to mobility and transportation, the Indian consumer is increasingly opting for sustainable choices. In a notable divergence from global trends, our research indicates that 25% of Indian consumers prefer hybrid engines (gas/electric) for their vehicles, compared to the global average of 15%. This proclivity for hybrid vehicles is a significant indicator of the Indian consumer's growing interest in sustainable modes of transport.

But the real surprise lies in the preference for battery electric vehicles, which are favored by 11% globally. In India, a remarkable 20% of surveyed consumers are inclined towards these electric wonders, showcasing a burgeoning trend in sustainable transportation in the country. This is not just a mere trend; it's a shift in the automotive landscape with the potential to redefine the Indian roadways and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

The GfK Global Consumer Life Study provides a comprehensive view of how Indian consumers are embracing a more eco-conscious and sustainable lifestyle. This not only reflects their growing awareness but also their desire to be part of a positive change. It offers valuable insights for businesses and policymakers to align their strategies with these shifting consumer priorities.

A Call to Action for Businesses

Indian consumers are becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to their choices, and they are looking for brands that reflect their values. For businesses, this is an opportunity to embrace sustainability and eco-friendliness as central components of their brand identity.

According to the GfK Global CMO Outlook Report, 53 percent of CMOs in India state that sustainability and environmental protection are essential components of their brand. The latest global GfK report shows that 34 percent of marketing leaders in India see sustainability as integral to their business operations, though it may not be as central to their marketing efforts.

Here are some key takeaways for companies looking to connect with this environmentally-conscious consumer base:

  1. Eco-friendly Practices: Prioritize eco-friendly materials, sustainable practices, and responsible sourcing. Your commitment to reducing your carbon footprint will resonate with Indian consumers.
  2. Holistic Products: Consider developing products that cater to both health and eco-consciousness. Offering products that are both beneficial for individuals and the environment will find a receptive audience.
  3. Electric Vehicles: In the automotive sector, explore opportunities in the electric vehicle market. The preference for battery electric vehicles is on the rise, making it a promising sector for investment.
  4. Collaboration with Government: Recognize the role of government in environmental change. Collaborate with policymakers to create a more sustainable and eco-conscious environment.

A Proactive Approach

The GfK Global Consumer Life Study underscores the importance of being proactive in addressing environmental and sustainability concerns. Indian consumers are not just spectators but active participants in the movement towards a more eco-friendly future. They are sending a clear message: the time for change is now, and businesses need to join the cause.

GfK, as a leader in consumer research, is committed to providing businesses with the insights and data they need to navigate this dynamic landscape. Our goal is to empower companies to make informed decisions that resonate with their consumers, align with their values, and drive a sustainable future. Together, we can work towards a more environmentally responsible world, one where businesses and consumers come together for the betterment of our planet.

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- Ashok Negi, Consumer Insights and Shopper Lead - APAC, NIQ


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