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Since returning from maternity leave and slipping back into the business world, sustainability has been a hot topic on everyone’s agenda. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of sustainable business practices, sustainable purchases, and being simply more thoughtful about our impact on our environment and wider community—but are we being true to ourselves when we talk about sustainability or is this just a feel-good term?

As revealed in a new research from SAP-owned customer engagement specialist Emarsys, our pandemic purchases have been mostly anything but altruistic and, well, sustainable. Yes, there were the odd 2% sponsoring cute furry llamas and some 14% getting a pet, but most of us fell into an instant-gratification trap, buying things that I doubt are sustainable: tattoo kits? Butter churn? Pinball machines? Or even all that fitness equipment, which - although came from good intentions - will soon or later end up picking up dust... let's be honest.

Was it all necessary and sustainable of us to purchase? 64% of respondents already admitted that they are not using their purchases frequently.

Of course, we’ve gone through trialling times and we deserved a little TLC. I’m not judging here (I certainly went a little crazy myself with Amazon Prime) but, as we move toward fewer lockdowns and more normalcy, what do our 2022 purchases and buying habits will look like?

According to Emarsys’ research, 2022 purchases will be more centered around social outings—all the things Amazon & co couldn’t replace, like restaurant outings and trips. With our renewed focus on domestic life and many companies inviting us to work from home (even post-pandemic), 2022 will also be about creating that perfect home environment. While this will mean buying a home for some (11%), it’ll mean getting a pet (13%) or purchasing robot vacuums (8%) for others.

When it comes to our buying habits, one thing is certain, the pandemic has cemented our addiction to online shopping. After enjoying all the convenience and perks of online shopping, it comes to no surprise that the grand majority of us will continue to look for a better online shopping experience. For marketeers, that means the focus will need to be on creating a seamless shopping experiences across marketing channels, and – to stay on top of consumers’ minds making it through the crowded online space – find a way to engage with consumers meaningfully—because, rumor has it, things like sustainability run high on shoppers list.