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Marketing to the Green Consumer - US - March 2014

“Enthusiasm for green products has increased since 2012, perhaps this is due to consumers’ perception of green as money saving. However, consumers refuse to be inconvenienced by green. They value accessibility, affordability, and quality. Companies should not presume that loyalty will come easily as consumers seek transparency and authenticity from companies that produce green products.”

– Tope Mitchell, Lifestyles & Leisure Analyst


Some questions answered in this report include:
  • For the love of green or money?
  • A new green attitude: how is green purchase behavior changing?
  • Do consumers want a little less talk and a lot more action?

Nearly four in 10 American say they are dedicated to buying green products and services (ie either “almost always” or “regularly” buy green products) – which is a 6 percentage point increase over 2012 results, and equates to about 93 million Americans. Green purchasing continues to be driven by young adults (aged 18-34) and Hispanics; about half of respondents in these groups report that they at least regularly seek out green products.

However, those same young adults, or Millennials, may take less personal responsibility for the current state of the planet and instead shift the onus of responsibility to companies that have profited from years of unsustainable business practices. They are more likely than those aged 35+ to be interested in companies’ green practices and they are also more likely to avoid a company with a poor environmental record.

This report closely examines the state of the green market, including demographic factors such as income, race, and age that impact consumers’ perception of the green products and services. Topics such as attitudes about the green movement, changes in green purchasing, reasons for green purchasing, and the impact of environmental practices on service choices are also covered.

Historically, Mintel defines green practices as those that include any efforts by companies to reduce the negative environmental impact of their business. Green products are defined as goods and services that minimize the impact to the environment in one or more of the following ways:

  • via the use of recycled materials
  • via the absence or reduction of harmful chemicals and solvents
  • via the use of organic/pesticide-free farming methods
  • via reduced energy and/or water consumption
  • via the use of forestry products from sustainable woods
  • via products that create less waste/pollution

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

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

                    • The market
                      • Figure 1: Share of new product introductions with green claims, 2006-13
                    • Share of Super/True Green consumers increases
                      • Figure 2: Change in share of green consumer population, 2007-14
                    • Market drivers
                      • Economic drivers
                        • Figure 3: Consumer sentiment index and unemployment, 2000-13
                      • Consumer drivers – increasing health concerns
                        • Government drivers – regulations and agencies
                          • The consumer
                            • The green market may be on the rise
                              • Figure 4: Change in green purchasing, January 2014
                            • Give consumers the whole package
                              • Figure 5: Reasons for purchasing green more often, January 2014
                            • Green supermarkets and dry cleaners are at the forefront of consumer consideration
                              • Figure 6: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, January 2014
                            • Consumers are willing to pay a premium for green
                              • Figure 7: Willing to spend extra for green products, January 2014
                            • Saving money may trump green ideals
                              • Figure 8: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, January 2014
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                                • For the love of green or money?
                                  • The issues
                                    • The implications
                                      • A new green attitude: how is green purchase behavior changing?
                                        • The issues
                                          • The implications
                                            • Consumers want a little less talk and a lot more action
                                              • The issues
                                                • The implications
                                                • Trend Application

                                                    • Inspire trend: Locavore
                                                      • Inspire trend: Creature Comfort
                                                        • Mintel futures: Brand Intervention
                                                        • Green Market Indicators

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Overview
                                                              • Household
                                                                • Cleaning products
                                                                  • Figure 9: Household cleaners – share of product introductions with green claims, 2002-13
                                                                • Paper products
                                                                  • Figure 10: Household paper – share of product introductions with green claims, 2002-13
                                                                • Food and beverage
                                                                  • Packaged food
                                                                    • Figure 11: Packaged food – share of new product introductions with green claims, 2002-13
                                                                  • Beverage
                                                                    • Figure 12: Beverage – share of new product introductions with green claims, 2002-13
                                                                  • Personal care
                                                                    • Figure 13: Personal care – share of new product introductions with green claims, 2002-13
                                                                  • Automotive
                                                                    • Figure 14: Total US unit sales of total hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle sales, 2008-18
                                                                • Green Market Drivers

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Market drivers
                                                                      • Green products account for growing share of new product introductions
                                                                        • Figure 15: Share of new product introductions with green claims, 2006-13
                                                                        • Figure 16: Share of new product introductions with a green claim, by category, 2002-13
                                                                      • Economic drivers
                                                                        • Confidence hits five-year high as unemployment rate decreases
                                                                          • Figure 17: Consumer sentiment index and unemployment, 2000-13
                                                                        • Consumer drivers
                                                                          • Increased awareness of potential consequences of pollution
                                                                            • Health concerns intensify demand for GMO-free
                                                                              • Figure 18: Share of new food and drink product introductions with a GMO-free claim, 2009-13
                                                                              • Figure 19: GMO-free cereals index, 2008-13
                                                                            • Consumer drivers for natural products
                                                                                • Figure 20: Personal care, by green claim, January 2014
                                                                              • Green organizations empower consumers to take a stand on GMOs
                                                                                • Government drivers
                                                                                  • Federal Trade Commission enforcements
                                                                                    • Automotive regulations
                                                                                    • Leading Companies

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Fact, fiction, or contradiction?
                                                                                          • Green healthcare has stepped down, Green retailers have stepped up
                                                                                              • Figure 21: Top 10 green companies, based on environmental impact, management, and disclosure, 2012
                                                                                            • Consumers perceive retailers, healthcare, and consumer goods as industries with the top green brands
                                                                                              • Figure 22: Top 10 green companies/brands, based on consumer opinion, 2012
                                                                                            • Mind the gap
                                                                                                • Figure 23: Top 10 green companies/brands, based on consumer perception versus performance, 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 24: Top 10 green companies/brands, based on performance versus consumer perception, 2013
                                                                                            • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                              • Overview
                                                                                                • Figure 25: Green innovation themes
                                                                                              • Share and share alike
                                                                                                • Clothing and accessories: Swap it until you make it
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Swapstyle “How to Swap clothing, cosmetics and more online” video tutorial, 2008
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: FreshNeck “How to Tie a Bow Tie” video tutorial, 2013
                                                                                                • Transportation: Share and share alike
                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Empire mayonnaise, varieties, 2013
                                                                                                  • Greenfluencers
                                                                                                    • Wegmans: Help them help you
                                                                                                      • Figure 29: How2Recycle label components, 2014
                                                                                                  • Green Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                    • Overview
                                                                                                      • Green can be just as good – or better
                                                                                                        • Lend a hand
                                                                                                          • Sing-along
                                                                                                            • Brand reviews
                                                                                                              • Johnson & Johnson
                                                                                                                • Coca-Cola
                                                                                                                  • McDonald’s
                                                                                                                    • Green can be just as good – or better
                                                                                                                      • All natural beauty potion – television presence
                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Johnson & Johnson “Jennifer Aniston’s Aveeno radiant skin moisturizer” magazine ad, may 2013
                                                                                                                      • Happiness in a PlantBottle – television presence
                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Coca-Cola “Dasani PlantBottle” TV ad, April 2013
                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Coca-Cola PlantBottle, 2013
                                                                                                                      • Serving up sustainable beef burgers – television presence
                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: McDonalds “Europe Fisheries program” TV ad, December 2011
                                                                                                                      • Lend a hand
                                                                                                                        • Socially and environmentally conscious partnerships – PR, grassroots, global
                                                                                                                          • Know when to give and when to take – television presence
                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Coca-Cola “Coca-Cola live positively Phillippines environment” TV ad, October 2010
                                                                                                                          • Partners in sustainability – PR, grassroots, and global approach
                                                                                                                            • Focus on the positive – television presence
                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: McDonald’s “McDonald’s and the road to sustainability” TV ad, February 2013
                                                                                                                            • Sing-along
                                                                                                                              • Sharing information is caring – online initiatives
                                                                                                                                • McDonald’s goes social – online initiatives
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Mcdonald’s international locations, Pinterest photos, 2014
                                                                                                                              • A Profile of the Green Consumer

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Nearly four in 10 consumers are committed to buying green
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Degree of green purchasing behavior, January 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Degree of green purchasing behavior, 2007-14
                                                                                                                                    • Men and women have similar green purchasing habits
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Degree of green purchasing, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Green goes viral: age and green shopping
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Degree of green purchasing, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Household income is strongly related to green purchases
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Changes in Green Purchasing Behavior

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Nine in 10 purchasing the same amount or more green products
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Change in green purchasing behavior, January 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Super/True Greens buying more green products
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Change in green purchasing behavior, by green segments, January 2014
                                                                                                                                            • The influence of attitudes on changes in purchasing
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Change in green purchasing behavior, by attitude, January 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Young shoppers dominate the green market
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Change in green purchasing, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Lower-income shoppers twice as likely to say they purchase “less often”
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Change in green purchasing, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Reasons for Purchasing Green More Often

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Accessibility and belief in green products drives green purchases
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Reasons for purchasing green more often, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Older buyers prioritize convenience while younger buyers value quality
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Reasons for purchasing green more often, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Impact of Environmental Practices on Purchasing Decision

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Supermarkets, cleaners, and contractors top green service providers
                                                                                                                                                    • Green contracting may have jumped to the front of consumers’ minds
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Young consumers prioritize healthy food and safe clothing
                                                                                                                                                      • Grocery stores/supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                        • Dry cleaners/laundromats
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Potentially image-conscious young males are interested in green grocery stores
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by gender and age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Food deserts may drive low-income homes to green supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Extra Amount Willing to Spend for Green Products

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Majority willing to pay premiums for green products
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Extra amount willing to spend for green products, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Young consumers willing to pay a premium for green products
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Extra amount willing to spend for green products, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Dedicated green consumers most willing to spend on green
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Extra amount willing to spend for green products, by green segment, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Attitudes Toward the Green Movement and Green Marketing

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Nearly six in 10 practice green to save money
                                                                                                                                                              • A green penny saved is a green penny earned
                                                                                                                                                                • Locavores may have green thumbs
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • Men are more skeptical than women of green marketing
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • Young adults want companies to clean up after themselves
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • Skeptical high-income households want company transparency
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • Super Greens skeptical, interest in the green movement has dwindled
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by green segment, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                              • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Racial myths surrounding the green consumer
                                                                                                                                                                    • Green purchase behavior amongst racial groups
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Degree of green purchasing, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Whites are least likely to consider greenness of businesses
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Whites least willing to pay more for green products
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Extra amount willing to spend for green, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Asians more likely to avoid green companies with skeletons in the closet
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Target clusters, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Drooping
                                                                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                            • Growing
                                                                                                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Steady
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 66: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by green consumer clusters, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Change in green purchasing behavior, by green consumer clusters, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 68: Reasons for purchasing green more often, by green consumer clusters, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 69: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by green consumer clusters, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 70: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by green consumer clusters, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 71: Green consumer clusters, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Green consumer clusters, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Green consumer clusters, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 74: Green consumer clusters, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 75: Green consumer clusters, by presence of children in household, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 76: Green consumer clusters, by region, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 77: Green consumer clusters, by degree of green purchasing, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 78: Green consumer clusters, by demographic, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                              • A profile of the green consumer
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Degree of green purchasing behavior, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 80: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 81: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 82: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 83: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by household size, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 84: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by presence of children in household, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Degree of green purchasing behavior, by generations, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Change in green purchasing behavior
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Change in green purchasing behavior, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Change in green purchasing behavior, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: Change in green purchasing behavior, by marital/relationship status, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 89: Change in green purchasing behavior, by presence of children in household, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 90: Change in green purchasing behavior, by generations, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 91: Change in green purchasing behavior, by Hispanic origin and household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 92: Change in green purchasing behavior, by Hispanic origin and age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 93: Change in green purchasing behavior, by age and household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Reasons for purchasing green more often
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 94: Reasons for purchasing green more often, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 95: Reasons for purchasing green more often, by gender and age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 96: Reasons for purchasing green more often, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 97: Reasons for purchasing green more often, by generations, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 98: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 99: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 100: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 101: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 102: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by marital/relationship status, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 103: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by presence of children in household, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 104: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by employment, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 105: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision, by generations, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 106: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision – rebase, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 107: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision – rebase, by presence of children in household, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 108: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision – rebase, by employment, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 109: Impact of environmental practices on purchasing decision – rebase, by generations, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Extra amount willing to spend for green products
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 110: Extra amount willing to spend for green products, by gender, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 111: Extra amount willing to spend for green products, by age, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 112: Extra amount willing to spend for green products, by household income, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 113: Extra amount willing to spend for green products, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 114: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 115: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by marital/relationship status, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 116: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by household size, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 117: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by presence of children in household, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 118: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by employment, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 119: Attitudes toward the green movement and green marketing, by generations, January 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cisco Systems, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Colgate-Palmolive Company
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dell Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • General Electric Company
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Grupo Santander Central Hispano S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hewlett-Packard Company
                                                                                                                                                                                              • IKEA USA
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Intel Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                              • International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Johnson & Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kellogg Company
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kimberly-Clark Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                              • McDonald's U.S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Nokia Corporation (US)
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Office Depot (North America Retail)
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Panasonic Corporation of North America
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Procter & Gamble USA
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Siemens plc
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sprint Nextel Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Staples, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Walt Disney Company, The
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Whirlpool Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Whole Foods Market Inc

                                                                                                                                                                                              Marketing to the Green Consumer - US - March 2014

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