As scrutiny increases on plastics use across all industries, new research* from Paymentsense reveals over half (54%) of small retailers have seen sales of plastic packaged goods fall over the last six months.
The research shows that sales of fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic are most commonly highlighted as down, closely followed by fruit juice and water in plastic bottles. It also underlines how shoppers purchasing habits are evolving, in light of months of mainstream media attention on the subject.
Almost half (49%) of the small retailers surveyed said the number of customers requesting products without packaging has increased over the last six months. Over a third (36%) reported that consumers are now buying more unwrapped goods and using their own bags or containers to transport them. Nearly a quarter (23%) said they had seen a growth in customers requesting products with plastic-free packaging.
The trend is having an impact on revenues. The small retailers surveyed said they had noticed an associated drop in takings of 3.6%, on average. In response to these shifting consumer priorities, and as the zero-waste movement gains traction, many small retailers are already making changes.
Over four in 10 (41%) said they have started stocking unpacked or loose goods as well as introduced new lines with plastic-free packaging in the last six months. Almost a third (30%) are also now recycling more, and a quarter (25%) no longer sell drinks with built-in plastic straws.
Guy Moreve, CMO at Paymentsense said: “Our study shows how changing consumer behaviour is starting to have an impact on the UK’s small retailers. It’s clear that in recent years public awareness has deepened around the issue, and pressure to reduce or eliminate plastics from products and packaging has grown significantly. Movements like the UK Plastics pact are really gaining traction, as businesses and industry work towards a more circular approach to protect the environment.”
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