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Europe: Top Consumer Trends in 2024

6/19/2024
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What’s driving European consumer behaviour this year?

There are a number of influential factors, but these two trends should be on your radar—Greenwashed Out and Recommerce 2.0.

You’ll want to pay attention to these shifts to understand consumer priorities in the region and how you can respond.

Greenwashed Out

Sustainability has been a hot topic in Europe for years, but green fatigue is setting in.

The Greenwashed Out trend is gaining momentum because these consumers are frustrated. They’ve made a concerted effort to live more sustainably, but the climate crisis continues to escalate. And lingering inflation across the region means affordability takes precedence.

In fact, there’s been a clear drop in the percentage of European consumers who buy sustainably produced items over the years, from Gen Z to baby boomers.

Chart showing consumers in Europe who buy sustainably produced items

European consumers are well informed and vocal about greenwashing. Companies are under pressure to cut their carbon footprint and make sustainability affordable.

Nestlé serves as an example of how to pivot a sustainability strategy in response to this Greenwashed Out trend. The company’s KitKat brand boasted a carbon-neutral claim on its packaging, but carbon offsets alone are no longer sufficient. The claim was removed, and Nestlé adopted a new strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Regulations under the banner of the European Green Deal will also crack down on greenwashing, forcing companies to rethink their messaging.


Recommerce 2.0

Recommerce 2.0 is another consumer trend that resonates strongly in Europe and ties to the circular economy.

Second-hand purchases are often viewed as a cost-effective way to support a sustainable lifestyle, and tech advancements help make this possible on a larger scale. Digitalisation enables the Recommerce 2.0 trend—offering solutions for selling second-hand goods online and increasing the availability of such products across categories.

Gen Z is a critical driver of second-hand spending in Europe with 31% planning to increase purchases of these items, according to our Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, fielded January to February 2024.

However, there’s been a steady rise amongst older generations who are allocating more towards this type of sustainable purchase. In 2020, only 14% of Gen X consumers in Europe had intentions to buy more second-hand items compared to 23% in 2024. A similar trend is seen for baby boomers, rising from 11% in 2020 to 16% in 2024.

23% of Gen X consumers in Europe plan to increase purchases of second-hand products this year, up from 14% in 2020

Source: Euromonitor Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, fielded January to February 2020 (n=2,801) and 2024 (n=2,757)

This depicts a fundamental shift in the perception of and willingness to buy second-hand goods across generations.

Lithuanian-based Vinted exemplifies this Recommerce 2.0 trend. Vinted is an online marketplace for second-hand clothing and accessories available across Europe. The company built a strong social following that helped it curate a community for pre-owned fashion.

The popularity of recommerce has not only led to the destigmatisation of second-hand goods, but also to a wider movement in Europe around repair services and higher-quality products with longer lifecycles.

Navigating consumer trends in Europe

The Greenwashed Out and Recommerce 2.0 trends go hand in hand, rooted in a desire for sustainability and affordability.

Consumers are holding companies to higher standards when it comes to their green credentials. And digital solutions help companies enter the recommerce space to offer sustainable alternatives.

Investing in sustainability now will set you up for the future and show consumers that your company is part of the solution.

To learn more about these consumer trends in Europe, watch our on-demand webinar and take a deeper dive into Germany.

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