Eye Tracking Sustainable Consumption

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A study conducted for the World Economic Forum sought insights into the purchasing and consumption patterns of millenials with a view to promoting sustainable consumption.

Challenge

To know how to engage consumers and especially the so-called millennials (18-34 years) in a more sustainable lifestyle, there is a need to understand what language will motivate them to choose a sustainable product and, to pay more for it if required.

Solution

A worldwide study using the unique combination of SMI Eye Tracking and Emotiv brain response technology was designed by Olivier Oullier, Professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at Aix-Marseille university, France in collaboration with the WEF, its partners, and scientists at SMI.

For lab tests, eye movements were recorded with the SMI RED-m remote eye tracker in combination with Emotiv’s EPOC neuroheadset. For in-store research SMI Eye Tracking Glasses 2.0. were used.

The goal was to first test a relevant lexicon that engages millennials in sustainable lifestyles in a lab setting and then to identify messages that influence sustainable consumption of millenials in their daily shopping experience.

SMI Eye Tracking

The combination of SMI eye tracking and EEG data confirmed that millennials have no common concept of “sustainability”, but understand messages that break down the concept into elements they make sense of, such as saving energy or polluting less.

They respond to simple messages and indicators and expect brands to first take the lead, allowing them to “consume smarter” without much effort on their part. Also, to them, sustainability doesn’t just mean “green”, so companies could focus their messaging on the utility of products (quality and durability).

Benefit

The study provided the first in-situ multilevel scientific validation of sustainability messages that resonate with millennial consumers. A lot of market research still relies almost exclusively on what people say as data is collected with questionnaires, surveys and focus group.

This study introduces a new methodology providing new insights from cognitive and social neuroscience, allowing researchers to better understand the gap between what people say they do (or intend to do) and what they actually do.

Background

Business leaders worldwide recognize that changing consumer attitudes and behaviour around sustainability within a rapidly evolving marketplace presents considerable challenges. In 2012, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and its partner companies began to address this challenge by researching the question: “How can companies engage consumers to trigger simple behavioural shifts that enable more sustainable lifestyles, grow demand for more sustainable products and create business value?”.

On presentation of the key research findings and recommendations at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013 in Davos-Klosters, business leaders were unified in a call to action, suggesting pilot initiatives that would test strategies to engage millennials (ages 18 to 34) in sustainable lifestyles.

Benefit

The study provided the first in-situ multilevel scientific validation of sustainability messages that resonate with millennial consumers. A lot of market research still relies almost exclusively on what people say as data is collected with questionnaires, surveys and focus group.

This study introduces a new methodology providing new insights from cognitive and social neuroscience, allowing researchers to better understand the gap between what people say they do (or intend to do) and what they actually do.

Customer institution Aix-Marseille University
Customer name Olivier Oullier
Customer website www.univ-amu.fr/en
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