Over half of public transport users in the UK say they will continue to avoid buses and trains after the pandemic is over in favour of cycling or walking, a study of consumer spending reveals.
The Co-op’s annual ethical consumerism report, which has monitored ethical spending habits for over 20 years, this year singles out public transport as “the biggest loser” of changed spending priorities due to Covid-19, with users reluctant to jump back onto buses and trains because of the threat to their personal space.
In other sectors, the study found that the “stay at or near home” culture which has led to a boom in online shopping and home deliveries is likely to stay, with 58 percent of shoppers determined to continue to support their local high street.
Overall, ethical spending is forecast to exceed £100bn next year, with 32 percent of shoppers aiming to buy more plant-based products, 27 percent to buy more fair-trade products, 52 percent to reduce single-use plastic consumption and 49 percent to reduce their energy consumption at home.
The study says the downturn in public transport usage - and unwillingness to return to it - was matched by a spike in interest in cycling. The 51 percent of people using public transport much less than they did pre-Covid say they will not change this habit. Forty-five percent said they were interested in cycling or walking where possible post-lockdown.
However, hybrid and electric cars account for the biggest growth in ethical spending, soaring by 40 percent.
A decade ago, the total size of the ethical food market was just £1bn, but the latest figures - adjusted for inflation - show it has mushroomed to £12.5bn. Amid the lockdown baking boom spending on free-range eggs accounts for the biggest surge in spending on food and drink - up 15 percent - while shoppers shelled out 11 percent more on plant-based foods.
The annual exercise from the convenience retailer provides in-depth analysis of concerns about the environment, animal welfare, energy consumption and ethically sourced food.
Travel curbs and homeworking prompt people to shop near home instead of in city centres, so it's good news for local independent shops, amongst others, according to Barclaycard - which covers nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions. More...