Sustainability, veganism, and eco-friendly movements are all on the rise among consumers. Matt Deighton, Managing Director of Sofas by Saxon, shares his advice for businesses looking to appeal to this rising demographic.
As consumer habits change, it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends and approaches that can affect the success of your interior business. Perhaps the most significant driving force behind current spending on furniture and décor is the rise of interest in sustainable and eco-friendly products and services. Below, I’ll take you through this phenomenon known by some as the Attenborough effect, and show you five ways you can adapt your business to incorporate these principles.
What is the Attenborough effect?
David Attenborough’s nature documentaries, such as Planet Earth, Our Planet, and Seven Worlds One Planet, feature gripping wildlife footage that has captivated audiences in the UK and around the world. These popular shows also outline the impact that human life is having on various ecosystems and shows evidence of the impact of climate change and pollution. These images have inspired consumers to change the way they shop and seek out more environmentally friendly options instead.
How can I incorporate it into my business?
From food to clothing and cosmetics, retailers are adapting to these changes in consumer behaviour by offering products that are kinder to animals and their habitats. But, one place that’s often overlooked when it comes to environmental impact is the furniture business. Here are just four approaches that may inspire your own interiors business practices.
1. Faux leather and vegan furniture
The number of vegans in in the UK has quadrupled since 2014 to 600,000 vegans in 2019, according to The Vegan Society. Science and technology mean that there are more vegan options than ever when it comes to food, and the popularity of this lifestyle means that people are also seeking vegan alternatives to leather and other animal products. It’s worth looking into developing a vegan range or product if you want to appeal to this rising demographic and embrace the vegan movement.
In addition to vegan alternatives, it’s important to your customers that you look for responsibly sourced materials, for example wood, to reduce negative impacts on the environment such as deforestation.
2. British-made products
Offering furniture that has been manufactured in the UK can appeal to consumers in two ways. Firstly, there are usually fewer carbon emissions involved when buying locally as the product has had less distance to travel to reach the customer than imported goods. Secondly, there’s a culture of quality associated with British manufacturing and your customers will know that the product has been made using manufacturing processes that adhere to certain standards – including legislation that focuses on environmental issues.
3. Low-waste manufacturing
Wasteful manufacturing processes are not only harmful to the planet, but they can cause your business to spend more money producing goods than is necessary. It’s worth taking the time to support and implement low waste manufacturing to save money, energy, and materials. Start looking for manufacturers that have found ways for their materials to be reused or their processes to be made more efficient. Or, put these measures in place if you craft your own furniture.
4. Furniture that lasts
Real Homes revealed that 22 million pieces of furniture are discarded per year in the UK, which goes straight to landfill and can cause further environmental issues as it breaks down. It’s important to focus on and then emphasise the quality of your products so that your customers know they’re investing in pieces that will last for longer, and to help reduce the amount of furniture they have to throw away. This should also help increase brand loyalty among your customer base.
The Attenborough effect on consumer habits is causing businesses, including retailers, to rethink their strategies. These are just some of the ways you can implement sustainability and other eco-friendly principles into your practices to attract more customers.