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Ethical consumers in the UK (statistics and retail)

eStatistics reflect that ethical consumer is an influential market in the UK. As the time passes the highly informed, pro-active and critic consumers start to make influence on broader markets reformulating the paradigms that globalization and capitalism have created. 

The UK is a propitious ecosystem to spread this phenomenon, the popularization of the wide variety of “organic” and “green” products on the supermarkets linked to purchase value of the British currency inabilities the consumers to be more selective on their purchase decisions. 

Marilena Lazzarini President of Consumers International regarding the Ethical Consumer mentions, “UK consumers are the largest purchasers of fair-trade (ethical) products spending £25 billion on ethical goods and service in 2005” 

The Ethical Consumer Research Association (2007), which is an NGO founded in 1987 and publishes a bimonthly magazine said, “…as many as 20% of consumers buy ethically all the time with up to 70% of customers ‘reacting to things they do not like’. In the past price and quality have been the only issues but ethics is now a firm third”

Government, politicians, NGO’s, corporate and industry are turning their eyes towards the ethical consumer market, translating from statistics to money what this phenomenon means. 

Mr Ed Miliband ex Parliament Secretary said to the Cabinet Maker “The ethical consumer market in the UK is worth £25bn, so social enterprise will grow because that’s where the mood of the country is.”

Going back five years its possible to find how retailers where since then very aware about the influence of this not so new trend of consumption, Ernst & Young director of retail Tim Sleep, affirmed to the Guardian Unlimited, Fort (2002) “Ethical consumerism is set to exceed £300m in sales this year”. Now a days at the same publication is possible to find reports saying that “Tesco promise to sell £1 bn a year worth of organic products in 2007”. Taking this just at the expectations that retail companies have on the growth of this market.

From an international perspective, the Financial Times (2007) published a GfK, international research on ethical consumers where it was discovered that amongst other European countries “UK shoppers emerged as the most aware, most critical and most likely to see national brands…” also mentioning that “spaniards were most sceptical about ethical “hype”. In the article is mentioned that Chris Davis, head of GfK NOP’s brand strategy centre of excellence, said: “The UK is the hothouse for what is coming. If a brand is going to do well in the ethical market, it should probably look at the UK.” 

With those examples is possible to recognize the influence of the small groups of consumers in the country market and as well on what is becoming a trend on developed countries.