Consumers now see sustainability as a standard. Years prior, sustainability was a “nice to have” on products. It was something that added an extra layer. Sustainability remains an extra layer, but only in terms of thoughtfulness. Today, consumers expect for sustainability to already be added to a brand in some way.
Trends of sustainable initiatives and products increased while consumers learned more. People went out on their own to find sustainable brands. They even went as far to research sustainable topics. Much of sustainability is not clearly defined or regulated, so consumers are doing their best to be accountable to their values. It leads to people paying more attention to a brand’s environmental choices.
What are the main concerns of sustainable consumers?
This is a question every business should ask, especially social enterprises developing sustainable products. Like any business, you can learn from what your audience needs. Staying in tune with consumers helps you shift your business towards growth. It’s also how you give your audience better service.
At this time, new studies discuss how consumers view sustainability. Data shows the trends and numbers businesses should keep in mind as they approach their audience.
What are the main concerns of sustainable consumers?
People naturally compare prices, incentive programs, and quality when viewing products. Sustainability became a deciding factor that consumers use now. Most consumers are serious in their eco-friendly commitment. Some consumers are curious, but not sure how to get started. All consumers are looking for a brand that they can trust and shop with long term.
Below are studies and surveys that talk about consumers and sustainability. Some data points come from the same research. This short list is a place to begin consumer research and gain feedback from your potential audience.
Make sure you take notes. The insight could help you strategize your next brand choices.
The top three categories consumers connect to sustainable retail: reducing waste, recycling programs, and eco-friendly fabric/material.
The top three items consumers are most likely to or likely to spend more money on if manufactured sustainably: cleaning products, apparel, beauty products.
56% of consumers look for information about a brand’s sustainability practice when contemplating a purchase.
56% of consumers consider themselves “somewhat aware” of the sustainability goals of the brands that they typically purchase.
54% of consumers read brands’ communications about sustainability programs.
90% of consumers think that retailers don’t do enough to showcase their sustainability efforts.
77% of the consumers surveyed expect more brands/retailers to offer 100% sustainable packaging for their products in the near future.
58% have purchased a new product specifically because of sustainability reasons.
81% reported they would be more willing to select “deliver items as a group” if they knew it helped the environment.
69% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product when there’s clear language/ symbols on the packaging that states the item uses sustainable materials.
95% of consumers said they would participate in recycling and reuse programs if those programs were available and incentivized.
43% of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
What can we gain from these insights?
These are only a few statistics talking about consumers and sustainability. You can see a common thread in the reports. Businesses can use this data as a starting point to refine their sustainability efforts. You see, the most important thing about data is using it. Simply looking at it won’t help you apply the insights.
We’ll briefly review the takeaways we think are important from this data. It may give all of us some things to consider.
Personal product research. Any information related to sustainable practices or programs will be looked over by consumers. Not every consumer will do extra digging, but most consumers show that they’re determined to find out what’s really going on. Something that makes it easier for the consumers is clear language or labels of sustainability.
Ambiguity around awareness. Consumers don’t feel clear on what sustainable practices brands stand for. They are looking for brands to show transparency and proper commitment to eco-friendly products. It seems consumers are more attracted to brands that know how to communicate this in an easy way to understand.
Sustainable daily choices. Consumers are looking to make more of their daily choices sustainable. Most of their regular purchases revolve around clothing, beauty, and home goods. Connecting everything, consumers are matching everyday choices with eco-friendly values. Zero waste and sustainable packaging become important keys in attracting conscious consumers.
Spend the extra. Prices of sustainable products tend to be slightly higher. This can come from materials, manufacturing, or delivery shipments. Wherever it’s from, consumers are open to spending a little extra money for sustainability (especially if it’s somehow balanced by an incentive). Perhaps they are more tolerant knowing the money is to support good initiatives and sustainable practices.
Ready to explore. Brands that showcase most of what consumers need will attract a more engaged audience. Consumers are looking for brands that are active in sustainability, and keep the audience updated on what they’re doing. It’s to the point that consumers are willing to try brands outside of their regular choices.
Are you aware of what your consumers need?
Trends are always changing. As of now, consumers’ interest in sustainability is still growing. Your social enterprise has a chance to proactively meet the needs of curiously conscious consumers around the world. On top of that, you can do it authentically without any greenwashing.
So, how will you leverage this data on what consumers think about sustainable brands and sustainable purchases?
When you review your branding and product, are you doing all you can to build trust with consumers? You could take a look at brand language, product materials, and sustainable programs you currently promote to compare with what your audience is talking about. Pay attention if they are asking the same questions or making the same comments in regards to a certain aspect of your brand. They could be telling you the secret to your next business growth strategy.