Shoppers today are demanding more sustainable practices from brands and retailers, and embracing sustainability can give businesses a competitive edge. According to Klarna’s latest Pulse survey, about 1 in 3 shoppers consider it crucial for brands to prioritize sustainability, while 1 in 4 actively seek out ethical and sustainable brands. These sustainability-minded shoppers actively seek out brands that share their values, and are looking for information to help guide their purchasing choices. They want retailers to promote fair labor conditions, use recycled or sustainable materials, and actively combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions. Transparency is also key, with many shoppers seeking detailed information about a product’s production process. In fact, more than half of the consumers showed interest in tracking their carbon footprint while shopping.
To better understand the motivations, challenges, and needs of today’s sustainable shoppers, Klarna’s UX research, product design and analytics teams carried-out a user research study from February through May 2023, conducting in-depth interviews of Klarna users across the UK, US and DE. The new research uncovered valuable insights into the wants and needs of consumers looking to make more conscious choices.
4 User Groups with Unique Sustainable Shopping Motivations
Through a careful analysis of the user research interviews, four distinct user groups emerged, each with their own motivations and abilities to shop sustainably:
- “Mature” group: consists of individuals who have both high motivation and high financial resources
- “Blooming” group: shares the same motivation but faces limitations in terms of financial resources
- “Indifferent” group: has the financial resources but lacks motivation
- “Resistant” group: shows low motivation and does not have necessary resources
“Understanding the diverse user groups and their distinct motivations and everyday challenges was a pivotal insight in shaping the design of our research. By tailoring solutions to address the affordability concerns, availability of resources, and trust factors, we can create an inclusive and engaging shopping experience that caters to the needs of sustainable shoppers.” – Lovisa Boberg, UX Researcher, Klarna
4 Themes Shaping Sustainable Purchasing Decisions
Within these user groups, Klarna’s research also identified four key themes that shape sustainable shopping behavior:
- Affordability of products: While sustainability may not always be the top priority, price is a crucial factor for shoppers who are seeking products that are not only more sustainable but also cost-effective in the long run
- Availability of resources: Many consumers express a desire to shop second-hand or adopt more sustainable practices, but often lack the time and energy to conduct extensive research themselves
- Behavioral change: Shoppers often exhibit brand loyalty and may be hesitant to change their purchasing habits, requiring time to transition and prioritize sustainability
- Trust in brands and available information: Sustainably-mature shoppers often rely on their own knowledge rather than solely trusting the information provided by companies. Consumers have also voiced that sustainability has become a buzz word, they want less talk but more action from companies
“Our analysis provides an initial but comprehensive understanding of the sustainable shopping landscape. By identifying the prevalent user groups and key themes, we can strategically align our product offerings and communications to foster conscious choices. This research lays the foundation for Klarna’s continued growth as a leading destination for sustainable shoppers.” – Michelle de Vrijer, Analyst, Klarna
Aligning products and communications to address the specific needs and challenges of each user group will enable businesses to enhance the shopping experience for sustainable shoppers. The “Mature” group needs transparency in features and communication. Highlighting sustainable certifications, ethical sourcing, and transparent supply chains could resonate with this user segment through instilling confidence in their purchasing decisions.
In addition to focusing on the “Mature” group, there is an opportunity to help consumers with high motivation and low ability, aka the “Blooming” group, to make smart choices that align with their sustainability values and help them shop consciously within their budget. This can be done through services such as offering consumers flexible payment options that allow them to invest in durable and high quality products that last longer, or by providing targeted recommendations, price comparison options, and promoting second-hand marketplaces, as well as resell options.
“Our research highlighted the importance of creating a seamless and intuitive user experience that aligns with sustainable shoppers’ needs and motivations. By designing features that build trust, provide accessible resources, and support behavioral change, we can empower users to make conscious choices effortlessly.” – Jack Albert Trew, Product Designer, Klarna
There are also opportunities to reach the “Indifferent” and “Resistant” groups through education and awareness creation. For instance, by partnering up with brands with sustainable collections, or showcasing how sustainable shopping can be affordable and cheaper in the long run with the added benefit of helping the environment.
Sustainability at Klarna
At Klarna, we’re on a mission to make a positive impact on the world. With over 150 million consumers and 500,000 retail partners, we recognize that our company and business practices have an impact on the environment, and we’re committed to creating a more sustainable future.
With our user-centric approach and a continuous drive to deeper understand motivations of sustainable shoppers, we aim to become the go-to destination for conscious consumers seeking a seamless shopping experience that aligns with their values. We hope this research inspires others to understand the need for transparent information on sustainability, which needs to be tailored to different consumer needs and values. When it comes to creating a positive impact, there’s a big opportunity in reaching users that do not have the ability to shop sustainably despite being motivated to do so, as well as reaching consumers that are not very motivated.By tailoring products, resources, and communications to the specific needs of different user groups, companies can contribute in shaping the future of sustainable shopping.
We hope the insights from our research inspire you to exchange with us and to motivate you to embark on a journey towards a more sustainable and responsible lifestyle – together, we can make a lasting impact on our planet.