More than two-thirds (69%) of consumers say they go out of their way to engage with brands who align with their values, while 34% said they’ve stopped supporting the ones that don’t, according to a new study from consumer insights and market research firm, Toluna.

The Toluna Understanding the 2021 Consumer Global Barometer Study also revealed that almost half (45%) of Australian shoppers prioritise sustainability and environmental friendliness as a core value, supported by 51% who now actively try to buy food and drink products with less plastic packaging.  

Humanitarian issues (26%) and supporting racial equality (25%) and gender equality (23%) are also key issues for consumers, as are more traditional brand values such as value for money (56%) and customer support (37%).  

After several spates of panic buying across the country, 28% of Australians are now keeping their cupboards better stocked, with 17% spending more time carefully choosing the right household cleaning products.  

Customer loyalty is coming into question though, with price affecting purchase decisions and shoppers more open to trying new brands. One-third (33%) of Australians report to be more price sensitive when shopping compared with how they were pre-pandemic, 17% are more open to trying new food and drink brands now, compared with before the pandemic, and a further 13% state they’ve continued to keep purchasing new brands they tried due to lockdown.

Supporting Australian made is also a growing concern, with 67% of shoppers trying to buy more food products from Australia or produced locally, compared to pre-pandemic.  

Toluna Australia and New Zealand country director, Sej Patel said over the last 12 months, the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with economic concerns and social issues, has rapidly impacted the attitudes and behaviours of today’s consumer.

“As brands come out the other side, many are grappling to find the best way to remain relevant and continue to engage their core consumers,” he said.

“Although ‘brand loyalty’ isn’t quite a thing of the past, what drives brand loyalty is changing. Consumers are now more inclined to support brands whose values align with their own and stop shopping with brands that don’t.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and get back to business, brands will increasingly need to stand for something – to participate in culture, society and politics; to show that they are environmentally friendly or support humanitarian issues. This is why it’s critical for brands to have access to accurate, on demand consumer insights to truly understand and connect with their consumers and intelligently inform their strategic decision-making and planning.”