12 August, LONDON – Research by global payments provider, Elavon, reveals that when it comes to spending, adults in the UK genuinely care how a business operates, not just about what it’s selling. An overwhelming majority of British consumers (90%) are conscious of social responsibility and environmental issues and plan to increase buying from brands with ethical credentials.
The consumer survey of more than 1,100 respondents in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, conducted by Ipsos MORI, also noted that support for ethical businesses was strong across all age groups, from Gen Ys and Millennials to those aged 55-75.
Top concerns from UK adults looking to purchase from businesses included:
- Safe working conditions (94%)
- The reputation of the business (93%)
- Supporting local businesses (90%)
- Fair supply chain and no use of child labour (90%)
- Environmental sustainability (89%)
- Equal pay (89%)
Along with the pandemic, initiatives such as the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow on climate change and global movements for diversity, equality and inclusion have changed the way consumers think about supporting businesses.
Additional research from a business owners’ perspective was conducted on UK small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by Elavon subsidiary, Opayo, and its partner, Discover Global Network. This survey found that 82% of businesses agreed that ethical and green credentials will become even more important to their customers in the future.
Businesses are also focused on their roles within the local economy. Four out of five (80%) SMEs report that being recognised as a local business had become more important over the past year. In addition, almost three quarters (74%) of companies surveyed indicated that their local communities had stepped up to support them.
As well as changing how consumers consider supporting businesses, the pandemic also prompted the growth of contactless and digital payments, which are now clearly here to stay. The most significant rise in adoption was seen within the 55-75 age group, with 54% increasing their use of contactless payments. Of those respondents who increased their use of contactless payments, 91% plan to continue using them in the future.
Elavon also noted that digital wallets, while still relatively small in take-up, are a trend to watch. 16% of respondents increased their use of digital wallets via a smartphone or watch during the pandemic. Seen as a convenient, safe and contact-free method of payment, some 79% who use digital wallets will continue to do so in the future, a significant shift across all demographics in embracing digital technology.
Commenting on the findings, Simon Tune, Commercial Director at Elavon, Europe said: “Our research shows that today’s consumers are increasingly mindful of who and where they decide to buy from, and the environmental and social impacts this might have on our planet and broader society. Businesses should be aware of changing attitudes to become more consumer-focused, which includes offering a wide range of payment options to make the experience as convenient as possible.”
 Research commissioned by Elavon and Ipsos MORI on 1,129 UK adults aged 16-75 between May 28-June 1, 2021.
 Research commissioned by Opayo and Discover ® Global Network and conducted by Savanta on 160 small businesses in the UK between April 15-30, 2021.
 Research by Elavon and Ipsos MORI, conducted between May 28-June 1, 2021.