Description

Understand conscious consumerism in the US by using Mintel’s deep research to become more informed and tackle challenges in your industry. This report defines what a Conscious Consumer is, what they like and want versus the US population as a whole, and how best to appeal to all consumers in the realm of conscious consumerism. Read on to discover our insights.

Defining Monetary vs Moral Value

Many US consumers are becoming more aware of whether a brand or product aligns with their values. Mintel’s exclusive research in this report finds that over half of consumers pay attention to a brand’s social purpose or mission, and even more consumers tend to buy from brands that align with their morals and values. We categorize these consumers as Conscious Consumers. This report finds that there is a steep cost of entry to becoming a Conscious Consumer, though, indicating that there is still progress to be made to allow more consumers freedom to choose based on their values and morals.

Conscious Consumer Trends

Conscious Consumers are more affluent

While those who identify as a Conscious Consumer say that supporting socially conscious brands is an easy and effective way to support a cause, the general population does not agree so much. This is likely down to the differences in affluence; where Conscious Consumers skew more affluent, those who don’t identify as such are more likely to be price conscious with more limited budgets.

Socially conscious brands seem to be more expensive

Conscious Consumers and the general population largely agree that socially conscious brands seem to be more expensive than their competitors. So, the perception of extravagance is there, and shared. Most Conscious Consumers agree however that purchases that trigger a donation justify the price point.

Opportunities for Brands to Appeal

As discussed, cost is an issue in conscious consumerism, even for those who identify as a Conscious Consumer. Consumers will also struggle further to shop more consciously in the current economic climate. So, brands can work to develop their approach to ensure that all consumers are catered to, not just the more affluent Conscious Consumers that are already loyal.

However, as brands suffer economic setbacks, often philanthropic strategies need to be adjusted. In these situations, brands should communicate to consumers when economic hardships force them to take a step back from their social mission or purpose. In doing this, as well as providing a timeline for when the brand plans to return to its socially conscious commitments, brands can earn the empathy and understanding of consumers.

Find more Conscious Consumer trends and statistics, and opportunities for brands in the full report, alongside expert analysis. Or, browse our store’s extensive Consumer Lifestyle, Marketing & Promotion Market Research.

This Report Looks at the Following Areas

  • Who Conscious Consumers are and what distinguishes them from the general population.
  • Consumers’ overall views on and interest in moral consumerism.
  • The impact of current inflationary concerns on consumers’ shopping priorities.
  • Consumers’ expectations for purpose-driven brands, particularly at times of economic downturn.

Covered in this Report

Brands: Chipotle, Nespresso, Pampers, Macy’s, Allbirds, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Culture Specialist

This report, written by Lisa Dubina, a leading culture analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the Conscious Consumer market and add expert context to the numbers.

As inflation and economic uncertainty continue to drive consumers to cautiously monitor their spending, brands and marketers have questioned if purpose-driven shopping can survive as price consciousness takes center stage in consumers’ minds. However, a brand’s moral value and social consciousness can enhance its purchase value just as effectively as traditional value propositions. Consumers across the financial spectrum seek efficient and cost-effective ways to give back and make the world a better place; brands that can build this value into their purchase offering will be elevated in the eyes of consumers compared to their competitors.

Lisa Dubina, Senior Analyst Culture and Identity

Lisa Dubina
Associate Director, Culture & Identity

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Target overview
                  • Figure 1: Attention to brands’ social mission, 2023
                  • Figure 2: Conscious Consumers, 2023
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Buying socially conscious brands is an easy, effective and widespread way for consumers to support social causes and issues important to them
                    • Figure 3: Importance and impact of buying socially conscious brands, 2022
                    • Figure 4: Socially conscious actions, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                  • High price points prevent more consumers from shopping based on brands’ social values, especially during economic downturn
                    • Figure 5: Shopping behaviors, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                  • Consumers expect more from brands and their social purpose efforts, even during times of economic downturn
                    • Figure 6: Expectations for brands, by Conscious Consumers, 2023
                    • Figure 7: Support from brands, by Conscious Consumers, 2023
                • Target Audience – Conscious Consumers by the Numbers

                  • The majority of consumers pay attention to and consider brands’ social missions or purpose when shopping
                    • Figure 8: Attention to brands’ social mission, 2023
                  • Four in 10 consumers are considered Conscious Consumers
                    • Figure 9: Conscious Consumers, 2023
                  • Conscious Consumers skew Millennial, affluent, and married with kids
                      • Figure 10: Conscious Consumers, consumer segment indexing, 2022
                    • Consumer trend spotlight: Moral Brands
                    • The Conscious Consumer – Fast Facts

                      • Socially Conscious Actions

                        • More than half of consumers participate in civil or consumeristic actions, but only a third choose more personal, hands-on involvement
                          • Figure 11: Socially conscious actions – NETs, 2022
                        • Conscious Consumers are just as likely to buy a socially active brand as they are to vote
                          • Figure 12: Socially conscious actions, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Among Conscious Consumers, monetary and consumeristic actions are common across gender and generation
                          • Figure 13: Socially conscious actions – NETs – among Conscious Consumers, by gender and generation, 2022
                        • Conscious Consumers are split by highly engaged and moderately engaged in social actions to support important causes
                          • Figure 14: Socially conscious actions – Repertoire, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Single women who are Conscious Consumers tend to be more highly engaged in socially conscious actions than single men
                          • Figure 15: Socially conscious actions – Repertoire – Among Conscious Consumers, by gender and marital status, 2022
                      • Impact of Moral Actions

                        • Conscious Consumers are significantly more likely to prioritize socially conscious brands and feel they help make the world a better place
                          • Figure 16: Importance and impact of buying socially conscious brands, 2022
                        • Millennials and BIPOC consumers in particular believe in the difference socially conscious brands can make
                          • Figure 17: Importance and impact of buying socially conscious brands, by generation, 2022
                          • Figure 18: Importance and impact of buying socially conscious brands, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, 2022
                        • Local community and sustainability efforts are top brand causes that consumers are willing to pay more to support
                          • Figure 19: Top brand missions willing to support, 2022
                        • Conscious Consumers are more likely to support social and political causes that extend beyond their own community
                          • Figure 20: Top brand missions willing to support, by Conscious Consumers 2022
                        • Historically marginalized groups are most likely to support social and political issues, as well as workers’ rights
                          • Figure 21: Top brand missions willing to support by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, and by LGBTQ+ identity, 2022
                          • Figure 22: Top brand missions willing to support by generation, 2022
                      • Impact of the Economy on Purpose-driven Shopping

                        • Conscious Consumers are more likely to have made changes to their personal finances due to recent inflation
                          • Figure 23: Response to inflation, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Although Conscious Consumers are concerned about an economic downturn, they remain determined to support social causes
                          • Figure 24: Concerns about and impact of economic downturn, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Younger Conscious Consumers are most likely to be concerned about economic downturn, but Millennials are most determined to keep supporting important causes
                          • Figure 25: Concerns about and impact of economic downturn, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Although economic concerns have impacted shopping behaviors, Conscious Consumers believe they will return to purpose-driven shopping
                          • Figure 26: Shopping behaviors, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Millennial Conscious Consumers are most likely to plan to return to purpose-driven shopping
                          • Figure 27: Shopping behaviors, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Brand spotlight: Chevrolet’s Good Deeds Cup
                          • Figure 28: Chevrolet’s Good Deeds Cup, 2023
                      • Shopping Priorities

                        • Conscious Consumers are significantly more likely to consider brand values, ethics, and social consciousness when shopping
                          • Figure 29: Important brand qualities when shopping, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Gen Zs and Millennials are the most likely to weigh brands’ values and reputations when shopping
                          • Figure 30: Important brand qualities when shopping, by generation, 2022
                        • In general, it’s more important for consumers to avoid buying unethical brands than to go out of their way to buy socially conscious brands
                          • Figure 31: Shopping behaviors and priorities, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Baby Boomer Conscious Consumers are more likely to avoid brands with unethical practices or opposing political beliefs, but less likely to keep up on brands’ values
                          • Figure 32: Shopping behaviors, by generation, 2022
                        • Socially conscious brands are typically more expensive, but Conscious Consumers agree purchases that trigger donations justify a higher price
                          • Figure 33: Price points, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                      • Expectations for Brands

                        • Over 80% of Conscious Consumers expect brands to stay true to their social values and purpose even during economic downturn
                          • Figure 34: Expectations for times of crisis, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                          • Figure 35: Expectations during times of crisis – Among Conscious Consumers, by generation, 2022
                        • Conscious Consumers are looking to the brands they buy to help them find easy and affordable ways to support social causes important to them
                          • Figure 36: Support from brands, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                        • Young and Hispanic Conscious Consumers are most eager for help from brands
                          • Figure 37: Support from brands – Among Conscious Consumers, by generation, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, and by household type, 2022
                        • Conscious Consumers, however, expect brands to demonstrate the true impact they’re having on social causes
                          • Figure 38: Demonstrating impact, by Conscious Consumers, 2022
                          • Figure 39: Demonstrating impact – Among Conscious Consumers, by generation, by parenthood and location, 2022
                          • Figure 40: Allbirds demonstrating tangible progress, 2022
                      • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                          • Chipotle shows how a burrito can change the world
                            • Figure 41: Chipotle: Can a Burrito Change the World? – 2023
                          • Nespresso serves up brand purpose in an artist-designed mug
                            • Figure 42: Nespresso’s “Things We Hold” initiative, 2023
                          • Pamper s’ long-running 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine campaign
                            • Figure 43: Pampers + UNICEF “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine,” 2023
                          • Macy’s inaugural holiday fundraising campaign
                            • Figure 44: Macy’s partnership with BBBSA, 2023
                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                          • Data sources
                            • Consumer survey data
                              • Consumer qualitative research
                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                  • Abbreviations
                                    • Terms

                                    About the report

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