World's Consumers Embrace Fair-Trade Marketing

12 March 2008

LONDON: From its humble beginnings in the 1950s, fair-trade has developed into a global movement, according to a report published today (Wednesday) by independent UK market analyst Datamonitor

The report, The Next Step in the Ethical Consumer Revolution, reveals that fair-trade sales across Europe, the US, Australia & New Zealand and Japan have experienced double digit growth since 2002.

"Ethical consumerism will increasingly come to the fore as people shop for products they feel akin to politically, ethically and aesthetically," says the report's author, Datamonitor consumer market analyst Nick Beevors.

"Consumers will choose brands that are actively making a difference in a transparent and trustworthy manner. This is reflected by the double-digit growth of 15.7% which Datamonitor forecasts for fair-trade purchases over the next five years (2007-2012) in the eleven countries covered in the report."

Britons' spend per capita on fair-trade products outstrips that of the rest of Europe, the US, Australia & New Zealand and Japan, although the USA is world's largest fair-trade market.

In Europe, the UK remains the largest market for fair-trade products with a value of £395m (£6.50 per capita) in 2007, followed by France and Germany with a respective value of £152m (£2.50 per capita) and £99m (£1.20 per capita).

By 2012, the UK market for fair-trade goods is expected to exceed £800m.

At the other end of the scale, consumers in Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Japan spend the least on fair-trade goods with per capita expenditure at £0.50 or less.

Across all the countries surveyed, beverages account for the largest share of fair-trade product sales. 

Total F-T product sales by country, 2007 (£m)

    Australia/New Zealand 7.4
    France 152.4
    Germany 98.9
    Italy 29.0
    Japan 3.7
    Netherlands 32.6
    Spain 1.9
    Sweden 15.6
    UK 395.3
    USA 455.3
    Source: Datamonitor
Concludes the report: "As ethical and environmental consciousness grows so too will certain types of buying behaviour. This is reflected by the growth of key product segments, notably fair-trade and organic consumption.

"As more businesses adopt more ethically sound policies, transparency and trust will become an increasingly important currency as manufacturers attempt to cool a potential consumer backlash to 'greenwashing' in the search for clear, honest and effective environmental benefits."

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff