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Brand Strategy Globalization Ecommerce

Sustainability and supporting local: what drives people’s buying decisions?


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

October 19, 2021 | 4 min read

Global digital literacy may be making the world a smaller place as we connect with one another across borders, but how much does ‘local’ still factor into our buying decisions? As part of our Globalization Deep Dive, The Drum and strategic insight agency Opinium took the pulse of the British public, asking 2,000 people from across the four nations what factors into their buying decisions.


The Drum and Opinium conducted research into the buying decisions of UK shoppers

According to the research, the majority of people want to support local brands and do take sustainability into consideration when making a purchase. Factors such as cost did also drive decisions, but to a lower degree.

When asked where they’d prefer a product’s materials to be made, 57% said sourced and made in the UK, with 28% saying it didn’t matter, 7% preferring it to be made internationally and the remaining 8% saying they didn’t know.

Diving into the reasons behind this choice, 55% of the audience said they equated ‘quality’ with the UK, with 37% saying the same for Western/Northern Europe, and 20% selecting the USA and Canada. The number decreased to 11% for markets including Asia and Australasia.

Where consumers did select international brands over British brands, they said it was because they were cheaper (25%) and more widely available (21%), with a smaller group claiming they were better quality (16%) and more established and trustworthy (14%).

As conversations around the provenance of products become louder, with sustainability driving a large part of this discussion, the impact it has on buying power is also evident.

Of the people surveyed, 56% said the impact on the carbon footprint of products coming from other countries did concern them. A further 23% said it didn’t bother them and 21% said it hadn’t crossed their minds.

Furthermore, 69% of those polled said international companies should do more to offset their carbon footprint.

One theme that came through loud and clear was that people wanted to know more about where a product was made. 71% said British brands should shout louder about their products being made in Britain, and 64% said they wish it was made clearer what products are British so they could buy them more. A problem could be that 45% found it difficult to differentiate between British and international brands, stating that they all looked the same.

For more on how technology and trends are bringing the world together, check out The Drum’s Globalization Deep Dive.

Brand Strategy Globalization Ecommerce

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