Feb 24, 2022
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Family concerns over health and the environment grow, M&S index shows

Feb 24, 2022

UK families are "cautiously optimistic” about what the rest of 2022 will bring, amid growing concerns around health and the environment, according to the latest M&S Family Matters Index.

Cost of living concerns are also beginning to emerge, driven by rising fuel and energy prices, leading to a 7% drop in optimism around family prospects, from 47% in August to 40%. Optimism stood at 51% back in March 2021.

This quarter, the Family Matters index score is 53, down from 55 last August. The Index score is based on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being highest, with a mid-point score of 50 or above representing a positive, optimistic perspective.

Families remain particularly concerned about the environment, proving earlier concerns highlighted in previous indexes weren’t solely driven by the spotlight on COP26 in Glasgow. These concerns are however spurring people to learn more about their own carbon footprint and take action to reduce it.

Some 65% of people cite the environment as a concern compared to 64% back in August 2021 and 61% last March. Those over 65+ and aged between 35-44 years old are the age groups feeling most anxious, at 68% and 67% respectively. 

More than half (60%) of people are making an effort to educate themselves about their environmental impact as a consumer and 72% agree everyone should be making their clothes last longer (up 2% since August 2021). Meanwhile, 36% of people have already made changes to the clothing they buy due to climate change.

People also expect stores to make a similar effort, with 58% saying it’s important the retailers they buy from make their products as sustainable as possible.

Younger generations are the most likely to be changing the clothing they buy due to climate change. Some 45% of 18-24 year-olds and 44% of those aged 25-34 have made clothing changes.

Victoria McKenzie-Gould, M&S Director of Communications, said: “Our third Family Matters report is two stories in one: continuity in that the future impact of climate change remains families’ primary concern yet changing because concerns around family health are intensifying as we ease out of the pandemic.”

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