headline press information


Date 29th April 2010 / www.procarton.com
Title Study: Ethical Consumption
Text A new study by the Hamburg Trend Bureau shows: ethical consumption will also show above average growth in the future. In spite of the present economic crisis it has the potential of becoming one of tomorrow's key drivers. The topic sustainability has also become firmly established in industry. For download in print quality, please click on the photo.
  The "Otto Group Trend Study 2009: the future of ethical consumption" was conducted by the "Trendbüro – Beratungsunternehmen für gesellschaftlichen Wandel GmbH" on behalf of Otto. In the study the Trend Bureau interviewed 1,000 persons aged between 16 and 74 years. The results of expert interviews, an expert workshop and a lead-user discussion were also included in the study.
The Otto Group is a globally operating retail and services group, employing a staff of nearly 50,000. The global presence includes 123 major businesses spanning 20 countries in Europe, North America and Asia. Their business covers three segments: multi-channel retail, financial services and service. In the financial year 2009/2010 the Otto Group generated a turnover in excess of 10 billion Euros. Worldwide the Otto Group is the largest online-retailer for fashion and lifestyle, the overall number 2 after Amazon, and in Europe and Germany the undisputed number 1. Mail order, e-commerce and stationary retail are the three pillars of the Otto Group's multi-channel retail business.

Ethics and consumption
Professor Peter Wippermann, founder of the Trend Bureau, explains: "Ethical consumption has been a headline topic in the media during the past two years. The present study is the first of its kind, and not only takes a retrospective look at the development of ethical consumption, but also attempts a look at the future of ethical consumption and shows how the positive development can be furthered. Ethical consumption could become a true driver of progress, if politics, the industry, environment and consumer protection and every single consumer would join forces."
Hans Otto Schrader, CEO of the Otto Group, comments: "We are interested in a continuous dialogue with our customers, stakeholders and other trading companies. With the present study we hope to help define the market which is opening up for ethical consumption. It is an excellent basis for developing appropriate measures for ethical consumption in future years."
The study shows that bio, fair and regional products are booming despite flat incomes. Especially women, the higher educated and the age group 48 - 67 have driven this development. Ethical consumption has also attained a higher standing among males between 28 - 47. They are significantly more inclined to pay more for ethical consumption than two years ago (plus eleven per cent and plus nine per cent).
The age group 16 - 27 however, shows only marginal interest in ethical consumption. They delegate responsibility to politics and companies without supporting these by their individual behaviour or by buying habits. Ethical consumption was only of marginal relevance for responders with low education. At 29 per cent, this group saves most in terms of ethical consumption.
Nonetheless, ethical consumption is doing well despite the present economic crisis. Although a third of all Germans has reduced consumer spending, the situation for ethical consumption differs with considerably less focus on saving. Only 18 per cent of responders wanted to reduce spending on ethical consumption, 75 per cent stated they would continue as before, and 7 per cent said they would increase spending along ethical criteria.
Wippermann: "The economic crisis has greatly increased consumers' desire for Fair Play. Today, ethical consumption stands for a desire for credibility, trust and continuity. In future the aspects data protection and global responsibility will expand the topics bio, fair trade and climate change."

Sustainability in commerce
Sustainability has arrived in business. Wippermann to Pro Carton: "Whereas sustainability has taken a step backwards in politics and with consumers due to the economic crisis, and consumers are more price-conscious than before, businesses have developed a strong self-interest in implementing sustainability, from packaging to logistics. However, just superficially flirting with the idea may prove extremely counterproductive, as the recent experience of a German retailer showed. Sustainability has definitely come out of the shadows. It is no longer limited to just a brief report to investors. The question of how to manage sustainability has become part of reputation management in businesses".
For the coming five years, the study has identified seven central challenges for the development of ethical consumption. One of the main challenges for industry, politics and society will be to win over the group disinterested in the topic ethical consumption. Attractive offers are needed for younger people and those of low education.
The study also presents approaches on the question as to how each of us can be more active. At least 88 per cent of responders know that their consumption behaviour is part of the problem. But they also want to be part of the solution. Four of ten responders admit to encouraging their social environment to consider ethical criteria. Especially women tend to be active here. However, only 25 per cent really intend to modify their consumption behaviour. Support and assistance is required from politics, business, media and environment and consumer protection.
Wippermann sums up the relevance for cartonboard and carton boxes as follows: "Cartonboard is an excellent material, has been part of recycling for many years and offers excellent sensual qualities. However, when one thinks of cartonboard one tends to think of simple square carton boxes. There is a huge demand for more intelligent solutions with a greater emotional appeal and a variety of shapes to meet the differentiation trend in mass markets. More development effort is required to achieve a greater effect".


The study can be downloaded here (click on the picture) or at:
www.ottogroup.com (Thomas Voigt, thomas.voigt@ottogroup.com)
www.trendbuero.de (Prof. Peter Wippermann, p.wippermann@trendbuero.com)

Trend Study

Prof. Peter Wippermann

Prof. Peter Wippermann, Trendbüro Hamburg


Richard Dalgleish +44 777 613 8510 dalgleish@procarton.com
Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.