Peak Stuff: Companies embracing a more socially aware generation

In January 2016, Steve Howard, the head of sustainability at Ikea, declared that the West had "probably hit peak stuff". This case study explores the validity of the statement, why businesses should engage in sustainability drives, and a few companies leading the way.


Analysis of what micro and macro level factors are driving companies embracing sustainability across a variety of industries.

Highlighting examples of companies successfully approaching sustainability.

Reasons to buy

What is meant by "peak stuff?"

Why are companies embracing sustainability?

Which companies are embracing a sustainability drive?

Companies mentioned


Table of Contents




Peak stuff a result of economic conditions

Raw material consumption has fallen significantly in the UK

A shift towards low paid-services economy is a factor

Manufacturing decline reduces industrial consumption

UK employment relatively stable, but zero hours contracts increasing

Technological advances have opened up the sharing economy

Digital products have led to a decline in physical demand

Tech innovators reducing promoting the sharing economy

Trends are shifting towards experiences rather than goods

Concern other industries could soon be peaking

Many consumer products continue to grow

Automotive continues to grow

Apparel retail continues to grow due to Fast Fashion

Peak stuff offers innovation opportunities

Engaging consumers on sustainability improves sales

Sustainable business helps improve supply side margins

Being pioneers in sustainability improves brand reputation

Heineken's moderate drinkers wanted campaign attracted huge interest

Adopting early avoids regulation

Mars Foods Health and Wellbeing warns against pasta sauces

Companies are also attempting to tackle consumer habits

Ikea and Heineken invest in sustainability

Heineken trying to make moderation aspirational

Moderating millennials main reason for Heineken's new campaign

Expanding the non-alcoholic range for improved consumer choice

Heineken also promoting sustainable supply

Ikea hoping to achieve sustainability while doubling sales

Ikea affected by generation rent

Trends in living also increasing demand for self-assembly furniture

Ikea wants to grow sustainable range revenues fourfold

Ikea brings hydroponics to the mainstream

Ikea trialing buyback policy in Denmark

Ikea's future designs have sustainability in mind

Ikea championing sustainable living through its employees and customers

Ikea's supply chain also improving in sustainability


Sustainable business can win over younger demographic




Further Reading

Ikea Group- Marketline Company Profile

Unilever: Proving that sustainability and profitability can coexist- Marketline Case Study

Ask the analyst

About MarketLine


List of Tables

Table 1: Mars Food products (per serving) against recommended daily total intake, grams

List of Figures

Figure 1: Raw material consumption per person and per person excluding fossil energy materials, 2000-2013

Figure 2: UK music & video market value 2010-2014, USDm and YoY Growth

Figure 3: Heineken's moderate drinkers wanted ad campaign

Figure 4: Unilever's carbon footprint 2014-2015

Figure 5: UK Furniture and Floor coverings market value $m, 2010-2019 (2015 onwards forecasted)

Figure 6: Ikea's indoor gardening range


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