Becoming consciously aware of the consequences of our bad consumption habits, has created a massive movement towards wanting to lead a more guilt-free lifestyle. Read more about one of this year’s mega trends.

Consumers are struggling with not only the economic situation in recent times. Affluent shoppers in particular are feeling conflicted between their desire to spend and their aspiration to do the right thing. They are looking for products and services that will deliver value and quality while, at the same time, provide reassurance that they do no harm.

Consumers are concerned about wider social and global issues, such as the effects of climate change and environmental degradation, as well as the continuing economic slump and widespread unemployment. They have also been affected by media reports of unethical and exploitative business practices, and of health issues related to consumption and tainted products.

Driven by a persistent strong awareness of the conflicts between the standard “bad” consumer impulses and the need to be “good”, consumers are now experiencing an immense guilt, which is resulting in new consumption behavior – continuing indulgence where the consumption excludes negative impact and guilt.

There now exists a great opportunity for brands to release their consumers from the ‘guilt’. And it is a massive opportunity. To take full advantage of this trend, brands need to move beyond merely claiming a green brand, a responsible brand, a human brand or a sustainable brand and focus more on the end users needs. In this case offering guilt free consumption instead of lofty environmental and social goals will deliver more direction and purpose.

Guilt-free consumption is established on responsibility. Consumers will spend if they feel that in doing so they are making good choices for themselves, for society and for the planet.