The Increasing Relevance of Leading a Healthy and Sustainable Lifestyle in India

The significant challenges that we have collectively faced over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have once again put humanity to the test, and if the start of 2022 is any indication, we will need this resolve to navigate what could be another challenging year ahead. We have re-calibrated over the past 24 months, only to start from scratch and prioritize our personal and professional goals. Living with the changing shades of the pandemic is now a given.

After the second wave of COVID-19 in India, GlobeScan conducted its annual Healthy & Sustainable Living study to help companies better understand the mindsets of consumers globally and what enables them or prevents them from living in a healthier and more sustainable way.

In total, more than 30,000 people took part in the 31-market global study that asked them about their attitudes, opinions, and behaviors linked to more sustainable and healthier lifestyles.

Overall, the study finds that people globally want to make healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices through positive intent and change of behavior. There are encouraging findings from India, which demonstrate the increasing relevance of leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle in the country.

The research highlights that Indians are very concerned about environmental issues and that many are interested in leading healthy and sustainable lives. Issues like deforestation in the Amazon, water pollution, climate change, and air pollution are among the most serious global problems.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indians, like most of the world, have been consistently working from home and they feel strongly about the waste they create and the impact of their transportation. Not surprisingly, consumers are now more wary of dining outside, attending public events, and shopping in physical stores. Post-pandemic, many plan to continue a wellness- and home-centered lifestyle and intend to reduce their environmental impact. However, it is interesting to note that while the desire to change their lifestyles has slightly increased from last year, the actions taken to make major changes have declined.

While the overall intent of Indians is positive, during the pandemic there have been declines in scores for behavioral aspects like conscious consumption, altruism, and wellbeing, revealing the effects of a confined lifestyle and possibly the toll that the pandemic has taken on their mental health as well.

Lack of government support and being content with their current lifestyles remain the greatest barriers for Indian consumers and these are preventing them from improving their lifestyles. They also increasingly call for more support from NGOs to help catalyze the adoption of sustainable living. The silver lining for India is a very small and declining proportion of people who feel that working to achieve a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle is an inconvenience or not worth spending time on, indicating a shift in mindset over the last two years.

Indians feel that companies providing more information on low-cost and sustainable products and services and those that offer less expensive versions of sustainable products can accelerate the uptake of environmentally conscious living in the country. Producing durable products and those that can be repaired, also rank high when it comes to making the shift from a throw-away economy to a more sustainable one.

Over the past two years, companies both in India and globally have significantly altered the way they work and have imbued the ability to adapt in this uncertain environment. In order to engage and influence their key stakeholders, consumers feel that companies need to create a lasting impact in the communities in which they operate with equal emphasis on restoring the environment. Committing to circularity and being active proponents of positive policy advocacy are also areas where Indians are interested in learning more about what companies are doing and that organizations should focus on.

As we move into another uncertain period that will continue to test our physical and mental preparedness, it is not too late to identify the importance of leading a sustainable lifestyle and take small steps toward it. I would love to hear your thoughts and any ideas that you may have on leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle in India. The full report of the India highlights from the study can be found here.

Healthy & Sustainable Living Webinar Series

You can also join our upcoming three-part webinar series (from January to March 2022) which will highlight key findings from the study and explore how brands can play a role in inspiring consumer action and behavior change. More details on this webinar series can be found here.