Ethical shopping insights from the beta launch of the Beagle Button

Three plant sprouts presented on a wooden board with hands
Image by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

While creating the browser extension for conscious shopping, the Beagle team has come to understand a lot about what sustainable shopping really means to people. We’ve compiled the following report to share what we’ve learned about people’s priorities and behaviour when it comes to sustainable shopping.

Knowledge is key to understanding and building a more sustainable future. We take users’ privacy very seriously, and information we gather is anonymous and used with purpose for the planet.

Our findings around sustainable shopping habits will help businesses make better decisions about prioritising sustainability, and bring to light the topics that are most important for ethical consumers today.

As we officially move out of beta stage, it's the perfect time to reflect on everything we’ve learnt over the past 18 months. We’ll take a look at why we set up Beagle in the first place, as well as insights about the values and behaviour of ethical shoppers through the Beagle Button

Where did Beagle come from?

The Beagle Button was created to reduce the negative impact that we as humans are having on our planet, by making it easy to shop for sustainable goods and services online.

There’s a huge gap between eco-friendly intentions and real everyday actions. We’ve found that 73% of people say they want to buy sustainably - but 73% of purchases aren’t sustainable goods and services. Why is that?

For many, it’s a matter of convenience. Finding great sustainable alternatives to the products you already know you’d like to buy? It can take forever, plus many consumers don’t trust brand’s own claims about the sustainability of their products.

Even shoppers with the best intentions find it hard to put their ethics into practice with their purchases. We understand – it’s hard finding more ethical products and services and making lasting changes to your routines.

That’s where the Beagle Button comes in.

Back in 2019, we looked at how browser extensions like Honey and Pouch were influencing shopping behaviours to help people save money and we had an exciting thought. Could we use that same technology to help people shop more sustainably?

And we did it! We created the Beagle Button – the browser extension that is essentially your sustainable shopping assistant.

Once you download it, we sit in the background while you shop as normal. We work across all the major retailers in the UK and suggest sustainable alternatives to whatever it is you’re shopping for.

We work with 200 of the best sustainable retailers in the UK and have built a database of over 1500 genuinely certified products that achieve measurably higher levels of sustainability than your average high-street purchase. We introduce our users to these amazing products as they shop, and so far have successfully recommended over 30,000 sustainable alternatives! While doing this, we’ve come to learn a lot about sustainable shopping.

What we’ve learned

Ethical consumerism is here to stay, and understanding what is important to ethically-minded shoppers is going to be increasingly important. To help, we’ve collected anonymous shopping data from over 2,500 Beagle Button users over the last 18 months to better understand sustainable shopping values, choices and behaviours. It’s pretty interesting stuff! Let’s dive in…

What values do people choose most with The Beagle Button?

After installing The Beagle Button, users can visit settings to select priority categories for sustainability. That way, the products they get shown are the kinds of products they are looking for most. Here you can see which values were most popular and the percentage of users that chose that option:

Pie chart of most popular sustainable shopping categories

Value combinations

Below you can see analysis of which values were most commonly chosen by users in combination, with plastic free sitting in the top 3 spots alongside Ethically Made, Low-Carbon and Long-Lasting:

Value combination analysis of most common tag combinations

Recommended Products

Beagle Button users can recommend their favourite sustainable products just by clicking ‘recommend’ within the Beagle Button tool. These products are then categorised and added to the product catalogue if they pass all of the Beagle Button product checks.

Our users have recommended over 1,700 products since launch, so we decided to take a peek at the data. Here are the most common categories:

Product category Percentage of products recommended
Clothing 24.03%
Hygiene & Grooming 16.16%
Accessories 9.92%
Food & Drink 9.41%
Homeware 9.00%
Kitchen 8.69%
Electronics 6.85%
Cleaning 6.54%
Baby 3.37%
Pets 3.27%
Furniture 1.74%
Appliances 1.02%

Users were most interested in recommending sustainable clothing brands, closely followed by hygiene and grooming.

Some examples of the products that users were most likely to recommend to others include:

Vegan hand soap from Delphis with 100% recycled packaging

Childrens pullover from Petit Pli made using recycled plastic bottles

Vegan ankle boots from Dr Martens

Organic nail polish remover from Zao Essence of Nature

Organic Cotton Reusable Make-up Pads from Green Fibres

Going forward

As Beagle enters full launch-mode to bring sustainable shopping to the masses, we have hope that there are solutions to the problems we face, and that our fate is, collectively, in our hands.

As consumers we have the power to shape the world around us through the choices we make and the products we buy. We can all be part of a shift towards a happy, healthy future for humanity and for the planet. We just need to think about the part we personally have to play, take responsibility for our impact, and make better choices every day.

You can download the Beagle Button for your desktop browser, and if you’re a company with some amazing ethical products you’d like us to consider adding to the Beagle Button, please get in touch!