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Marketing to the Green Consumer - US - April 2012

Improving economic conditions indicate that demand for green and sustainable products will grow in 2012. During the recession years (2007-09) and the subsequent slow recovery, the green consumer base stagnated as financial concerns outweighed environmental concerns. However, current macroeconomic data shows that a reversal of fortunes may be in the works for the green market. Notwithstanding this, Mintel’s most recent consumer survey results show a decline in the number of those that think of themselves as dedicated green shoppers, which is surprising given the proliferation of green goods on the market across nearly every consumer category. There is however more to this data, and a suggestion that to some degree, green has become a norm, an expectation, and as a result is receiving less immediate attention.

This report closely examines both the economic and social factors impacting consumers’ perception of the green market and green products, consumer attitudes toward green products and their use of such products, as well as innovative green products and marketing techniques used across a variety of consumer industries are also discussed.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The green market
                          • Figure 1: Share of total new product introductions with green claims, by select categories, 2002-11
                        • Green market drivers
                          • Improving economy, consumer confidence key to green market growth
                            • Figure 2: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-March 2012
                            • Figure 3: Consumer confidence, January 2007-March 2012
                          • Growing Asian and Hispanic populations means growth for the green market
                            • Figure 4: Green consumer population, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                            • Figure 5: Population, by race and Hispanic origin, 2011-16
                          • The consumer
                            • Self-reported buying habits suggest a decline in the green consumer base …
                              • Figure 6: Degrees of green for the U.S. consumer, 2007-11
                            • ... but across specific categories, purchasing is trending upward
                              • Figure 7: Change in frequency of purchasing different categories of green products, 2007-11
                            • Price remains barrier to green purchasing
                              • Figure 8: Perceptions of green products, by gender, December 2011
                            • Most expect companies to be green, but need help in determining whether a product lives up to its claims
                              • Figure 9: Expectations for green and trusting green claims, December 2011
                            • Water contamination, pollution, climate change top environmental concerns
                              • Figure 10: Most and least concerning environmental issues, December 2011
                            • Social issues generally considered more important than green issues
                              • Figure 11: Relative importance of green issues vs. other issues, December 2011
                            • What we think
                            • Issues in the Green Market

                                • Isn’t green good enough? Do marketers need to think bigger picture?
                                  • How can green marketers convince consumers that they really can make a difference?
                                    • How can green overcome its “compromised quality” perception?
                                      • Consumers are confused about green labels—is it time for legislation?
                                        • Figure 12: Examples of ecolabels, March 2012
                                    • Insights and Opportunities

                                      • Green goes with everything: cause-combinations can broaden appeal
                                        • Social media key to green marketing: think beyond Facebook and Twitter
                                          • But still … “like us on Facebook”
                                            • Listen to your mother (earth)
                                              • Gamification can increase engagement in green
                                                • Green games (and toys) for kids
                                                  • GreenDeals: a greener Groupon
                                                  • Inspire Insights

                                                      • Trend: Hungry Planet
                                                        • Trend: Accentuate the Negative
                                                            • Figure 13: Max Burgers, 2012
                                                            • Figure 14: Patagonia ad, November 2011
                                                        • Green Market Indicators

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Household
                                                              • Cleaning products
                                                                  • Figure 15: Household cleaners product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                • Paper products
                                                                  • Figure 16: Household paper product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                • Food and beverages
                                                                  • Natural and organic food and beverage growth outpaces conventional
                                                                    • Figure 17: Retail sales of natural and organic foods and beverages, at current prices, 2009-13
                                                                  • Packaged foods
                                                                    • Figure 18: Packaged food product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                  • Beverages
                                                                      • Figure 19: Beverage product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                    • Personal care
                                                                      • Figure 20: Personal care product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                    • Automotive
                                                                      • Figure 21: Total U.S. unit sales and forecast of hybrid vehicles, 2006-14
                                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Improving economy, consumer confidence key to green market growth
                                                                          • GDP makes gains throughout 2011, continued growth bodes well for the green market
                                                                            • Figure 22: Changes in real gross domestic product, Q1 2007-Q4 2011
                                                                          • Stabilizing DPI allows consumers to focus on more than their own finances
                                                                            • Figure 23: Changes in disposable personal income, January 2007-February 2012
                                                                          • Decline in unemployment likely to boost green spending
                                                                            • Figure 24: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-March 2012
                                                                          • Consumer confidence on the upswing
                                                                            • Figure 25: Consumer confidence, March 2007-March 2012
                                                                          • Volatile gas prices may spur consumers to adopt greener behaviors, consider hybrids and EVs
                                                                            • Figure 26: Average retail prices for regular gas, April 10, 2011-April 10, 2012
                                                                            • Figure 27: U.S. regular conventional retail gasoline prices, 2002-February 2012
                                                                          • Eco-aware Millennials comprise one quarter of population
                                                                            • Figure 28: Population, by generation, 2011
                                                                          • Multicultural characteristic of Millennials also support green growth
                                                                            • Figure 29: Generations by race/Hispanic origin, 2011
                                                                        • Who’s the Greenest of Them All?

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Green perceptions versus green realities
                                                                              • Greenest companies dominated by IT & Services, Tech Equipment
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Top 10 green companies, based on environmental impact, management, and disclosure, 2011
                                                                                • Consumers rate household, personal care companies, and grocers as most green
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Top 10 green companies/brands, based on consumer opinion, 2011
                                                                                  • Overall reputation trumps green practice and green image
                                                                                    • Figure 32: Top 10 companies by overall reputation, based on consumer opinion, 2011
                                                                                • Green Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Household
                                                                                      • Cleaning products: justifying the price premium requires multiple benefits
                                                                                        • Aircare: if not green, promote natural, chemical-free, and safe identity
                                                                                          • Paper products: room for growth, quality comes first
                                                                                            • Bath tissue: private labels get on board, offer competitive pricing and unique branding
                                                                                              • Paper towels: consumers demand quality, green towels must prove durability
                                                                                                • Food
                                                                                                  • Snacks: natural, organic products wrapped up in green
                                                                                                    • Green energy use in the manufacturing process—the next evolution
                                                                                                      • Prepared meals and sustainable packaging
                                                                                                        • Baby snacks: as natural as possible and chemical free
                                                                                                          • Beverages
                                                                                                            • Carbonated soft drinks: environmental and cause marketing go hand-in-hand
                                                                                                              • Hot beverages
                                                                                                                • Coffee: focus on fair trade, organic to “provide a clean conscience”
                                                                                                                  • Tea: natural and organic claims are tops for tea, translates well to being green
                                                                                                                    • Energy drinks: healthy, natural ingredients, and eco-friendly claims
                                                                                                                      • Alcoholic beverages
                                                                                                                        • Wine: reduced packaging, sustainably grown, and zero carbon emissions
                                                                                                                          • Beer: recyclable PakTech system and solar-powered breweries
                                                                                                                            • Personal care
                                                                                                                              • Deodorant: “free from” and natural claims strengthen green identity
                                                                                                                                • Baby care: green-related claims translates to safer for baby
                                                                                                                                  • Skincare: good for my skin and good for the planet
                                                                                                                                    • Color cosmetics: green packaging more easily achieved than green product
                                                                                                                                    • Green Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                                      • Overview
                                                                                                                                        • Household
                                                                                                                                          • Brand analysis: Seventh Generation
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Brand analysis of Seventh Generation, 2012
                                                                                                                                          • From digital, PR, grassroots, and social media to the national scene
                                                                                                                                            • Online initiatives
                                                                                                                                              • A new mascot for Seventh Generation?
                                                                                                                                                • Television presence
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Target, Seventh Generation, “The Earth Thanks You,” 2011
                                                                                                                                                • Brand analysis: Brita
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Brand analysis of Brita, 2012
                                                                                                                                                  • Online initiatives
                                                                                                                                                    • Television presence
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Brita, “On the Go,” 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Brand overview: Glad
                                                                                                                                                      • Television presence
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Glad, “We're Stronger With Less Plastic Waste,” 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Automotive
                                                                                                                                                        • Ford Edge crossover
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Ford Edge, “The Dinosaur,” 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Chevrolet Cruze compact car
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Chevrolet, “Dare to Compare,” 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Mazda CX-5 SUV
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Mazda, “The Lorax and Skyactiv Technology,” 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Green Purchasing Behaviors

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Self-reported buying habits suggest a decline in green purchasing
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Degree of green shopping behavior, 2007-11
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Share of total new product introductions with green claims, by category, 2002-11
                                                                                                                                                                • Nearly four in 10 Millennials are dedicated green shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Degree of green shopping behavior, by generation, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Most affluent consumers drive the green market
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Degree of green shopping behavior, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Awareness and Purchase of Green Products

                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Slight upward trend in green purchasing across all categories
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Change in frequency of purchasing different categories of green products, 2007-11
                                                                                                                                                                  • Household cleaners, laundry detergents, dishwashing liquid
                                                                                                                                                                    • Household cleaners have strongest green awareness and following
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Awareness and purchase of green household cleaners, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Regardless of children in household, women more likely to buy green cleaners
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Awareness and purchase of green household cleaners, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Awareness and purchase of green household cleaners, by gender and presence of children in household, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Household paper products, food storage/preservation
                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity to increase green food storage containers/preservation use
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Awareness and purchase of green household paper and food storage products, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                      • Use of green paper and food storage products steady across incomes
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Purchase of green household paper and food storage products, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                      • Packaged food, beverages, and personal care products
                                                                                                                                                                        • Encouragement needed for trial of green consumables and personal care
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Awareness and purchase of green personal care products and packaged food, beverages, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                        • Green personal care product awareness, use declines with age
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Awareness and purchase of green personal care products, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                        • Apparel and shoes, clothes, and linens
                                                                                                                                                                          • Room for growth in green apparel and shoes
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Awareness and purchase of green apparel or shoes and clothes or linens, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                          • Green apparel and shoes attract even lowest-income households
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Awareness and purchase of green apparel or shoes, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Purchase of green apparel or shoes by those who purchase, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer electronics, toys, and children’s products
                                                                                                                                                                            • More than one quarter buy green consumer electronics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Awareness and purchase of green consumer electronics and toys/children’s products, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                            • Asians and Hispanics most likely to purchase green toys
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Awareness and purchase of toys/children’s products, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Purchase of toys/children’s products by those who purchase, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                          • Perceptions of Green Products

                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                              • Price remains barrier to green purchasing
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Perceptions of green products, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                              • 25-34s a key segment of green purchasers; perception doesn’t quite match behavior
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Perceptions of green products, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                              • Affluents more likely to feel green household cleaners are less effective
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Perceptions of green products, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                            • Influence of Green Factors on Last/Next Major Purchase

                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                • “Greenfluence” on last major purchase increases—particularly for those requiring energy to operate
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Influence of green factors on major purchases, by category, 2008-11
                                                                                                                                                                                • Washers, dryers are top appliances for energy efficient model purchases
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Whether last 12 month appliance purchases are energy efficient, July 2010-September 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                • Influence of green factors for next major purchase also shows an uptick
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Influence of green factors on last major purchase/future purchase, by category, 2008-11
                                                                                                                                                                                • Green factors will likely come into play for next car or truck purchase
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Number of AFV/HEV models offered and HEV sales, 2000-11
                                                                                                                                                                              • Awareness and Use of Green Services

                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Frequently used services like grocers, dry cleaners garner green interest
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Awareness and use of green services, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Green product purchasers also interested in green services
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: Use of green services, by green consumer segments, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Environmental practices impact purchase intent …
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Impact of a company’s environmental behavior on purchase likelihood, July 2010-September 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Ability to think of companies whose environmental behavior elicits a positive or negative response, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                  • … but many have difficulty in knowing how companies actually behave
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Ability to identify ethical companies, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                • Green Lifestyles and Behavior

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Less than one in 10 feel they are leading a green lifestyle; is the bar set too high?
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Green lifestyles and behavior, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Older consumers less convinced of green lifestyle, despite having made changes
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Green lifestyles and behavior, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Personal obligation to be environmentally responsible, by key demographics, July 2010-September 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • More men are doubtful about the impact of their actions
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Personal green behavior compared with others and expectation of results, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Millennials most confident in their greenness
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Personal green behavior compared with others and expectation of results, by generation, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Green Expectations and Trusting Green Claims

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                      • A majority expect companies to be green, want a clear set of standards
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Expectations for green and trusting green claims, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Women have higher expectations, but are more trusting than men
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Expectations for green and trusting green claims, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Regular green purchasers more suspicious of green claims
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Expectations for green and trusting green claims, by green consumer segments, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Most and Least Concerning Environmental Issues

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Water contamination, pollution, climate change top environmental concerns
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 79: Most and least concerning environmental issues, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Women more worried about water, men more concerned with fossil fuels
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 80: Most concerning environmental issues, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Environmental concerns vary by age
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 81: Most concerning environmental issues, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                      • How Green Issues Compare With Other Issues

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Social issues generally considered more important than green issues
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 82: Relative importance of green issues vs. other issues, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Women feel more strongly about social causes
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Relative importance of green issues vs. other issues, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Committed green shoppers also tuned into social issues
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 84: Relative importance of green issues vs. other issues, by green consumer segments, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Green purchasing behaviors
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 85: Degree of green shopping behavior, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 86: Population, by race and Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Perceptions of green products

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 87: Perceptions of green products, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Awareness and use of green services

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 88: Use of green services, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 89: Agreement that banks offering paperless checking are just trying to save money, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Green lifestyles and behavior

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 90: Green lifestyles and behavior, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 91: Personal green behavior compared with others and expectation of results, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Green expectations and trusting green claims

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 92: Expectations for green and trusting green claims, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Most and least concerning environmental issues
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 93: Most concerning environmental issues, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Other Useful Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Green market indicators
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 94: Laundry detergent new product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 95: Dishwashing new product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 96: Pet food and pet products new product introductions with green claims, 2002-11
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 97: Alternative fuel vehicles/Hybrid-Electric vehicle models, 1991-2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Awareness and purchase of green products
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 98: Awareness and purchase of green products, by product category, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 99: Change in awareness of different categories of green products, January 2010-December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Toys and children’s products
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 100: Awareness and purchase of green toys/children’s products, by gender and parental status, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Perceptions of green products
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 101: Perceptions of green products, by parental status and presence of children in household, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 102: Perceptions of green products, by green consumer segments, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Awareness and use of green services
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 103: Awareness and use of green services, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 104: Awareness and use of green services, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Green lifestyles and behavior
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 105: Personal green behavior compared with others and expectation of results, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 106: Green behavior compared with others and results, by green consumer segments, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Green expectations and trusting green claims
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 107: Expectations for green and trusting green claims, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 108: Expectations for green and trusting green claims, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Most and least concerning environmental issues
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 109: Most concerning environmental issues, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 110: Most concerning environmental issues, by region, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 111: Most concerning environmental issues, by generation, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 112: Most concerning environmental issues, by green consumer segments, December 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Accenture
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Amazon.com Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Berkshire Hathaway Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Burt's Bees Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                            • CVS Caremark Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                            • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Harris Interactive Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hewlett-Packard Company
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Johnson & Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jones Soda Co.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kettle Foods, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kraft Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Marcal Paper Mills Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Procter & Gamble USA
                                                                                                                                                                                            • SC Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sprint Nextel Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tom's of Maine
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Trader Joe's Company Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Walt Disney Company, The
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Whole Foods Market Inc

                                                                                                                                                                                            Marketing to the Green Consumer - US - April 2012

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