This report examines sustainability in the retail industry, focusing on the consumer perspective. Perceptions and expectations are constantly evolving, and brands can meet challenges with data and analysis provided by this extensive report. Below, we’ve provided the key topics covered and handpicked insights from the report.

Key Topics Covered

  • Consumers’ knowledge and awareness of brands’ sustainability initiatives.
  • Reasons for lack of sustainability knowledge.
  • Sustainability factors influencing purchase habits.
  • Sources of information for learning about sustainability.
  • Consumer interest in sustainable features and services.
  • Consumers’ view on brands’ role in sustainability.

Overview of the Sustainable Retail Consumer

Consumers are becoming more aware of sustainability initiatives from brands, but price and quality remain the primary purchase factors. Younger consumers will increasingly drive demand for sustainable options in retail, but currently, consumers are not always willing to pay more, as younger generations more often are. For now, brands can tap into positivity around sustainability by showing how individual actions can make a difference.

Sustainability in Retail Statistics

As part of this report, Mintel sources consumer attitudes and preferences from surveys conducted. We provide some of the statistics this report offers here.

  • 77% of consumers hold retailers responsible for sustainability, demonstrating the need for businesses to take the initiative in this area.
  • Consumers are limited in their sustainability knowledge: Only a quarter of consumers are ‘very knowledgeable’ of the sustainability efforts of the companies they shop.
  • Shoppers don’t always prioritize sustainability: Two-thirds of consumers shop where and how it’s most convenient for them. Price, quality, and function are top priorities, indicating the potential to bring sustainability to each stage of the customer journey, rather than consumers having to seek it out.

Opportunity for Retailers

Returns are a significant problem for brands and retailers, making up a significant portion of waste and monetary loss. With some retailers implementing a return fee to help reduce the number of returns, other responses can be deployed. For instance, AI software can be utilized to provide tailored recommendations to customers based on their interests, fashion choices, and more.

For a complete view of the opportunities available to brands in the sustainability in retail space, buy the full report. Or, you can browse our library of sustainability reports.

Leading Brands Analysed

A number of brands within the sustainability and retail space are analyzed as part of this report, including H&M, Amazon, Patagonia, Archive, Happy Returns, ThredUp, Loop, InspireD’Signs, and more.

Additional Features Included in Your Report

Different Digital Formats: PDF for conveniently sharing with your team, PowerPoint for quickly including in your presentation, as well as an Excel Databook.

Mintel’s Clients Portal: Our portal offers instant access to actionable analysis and trends pieces relevant to your industry that are published almost daily. You can also browse for more market research reports.

Expert Analysis

Leading retail analyst Katie Hansen offers in-depth industry insight with this report.

Consumers want to shop more sustainably and expect brands to take the lead in procuring environmentally-friendly shopping options.

Katie Hansen, Senior Analyst, Retail and eCommerce

Katie Hansen
Senior Analyst, Retail & eCommerce

Table of Contents

    • Key issues covered in this Report
  1. Executive summary

  2. The Market

    • Market drivers
    • Graph 1: consumer price index change from previous year, 2021-23
    • Graph 2: population by generation, 2023
    • Market landscape
  3. Consumer Insights

    • Consumer fast facts
    • Sustainability awareness and knowledge
    • Graph 3: sustainability awareness, by gender and age, 2023
    • Graph 4: sustainability awareness, by race, 2023
    • Graph 5: sustainability knowledge and interest, 2023
    • Graph 6: sustainability knowledge and interest, by gender and age, 2023
    • Reasons for lack of sustainability awareness
    • Graph 7: reasons for lack of sustainability awareness, 2023
    • Attitudes towards sustainability
    • Graph 8: attitudes toward sustainability, 2023
    • Graph 9: attitudes toward sustainability, 2023
    • Graph 10: attitudes toward sustainability, by generation, any agree, 2023
    • Purchase influences
    • Graph 11: sustainability importance against other purchase factors, 2023
    • Graph 12: sustainability importance against other purchase factors, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 13: sustainability importance against other purchase factors, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 14: sustainability factors influencing purchase, 2023
    • Graph 15: sustainability factors influencing purchase, by parental status, 2023
    • Important claims
    • Graph 16: important claims, 2023
    • Graph 17: important claims, by generation, 2023
    • Sources of information on sustainability
    • Graph 18: attitudes toward sustainability, 2023
    • Graph 19: sources of learning about sustainability, 2023
    • Graph 20: sources of learning about sustainability, by gender and age, 2023
    • Graph 21: amount of time willing to invest in learning about sustainability, 2023
    • Graph 22: time willing to invest in learning about sustainability, by gender, 2023
    • Willingness to pay for sustainable products
    • Graph 23: willingness to pay more, by category, 2023
    • Graph 24: willingness to pay more, by household income, 2023
    • Interest in sustainable features and services
    • Graph 25: interest in sustainable features and services, 2023
    • Graph 26: interest in sustainable features and services, by generation, 2023
    • Brands’ roles in sustainability
    • Graph 27: attitudes toward sustainability, 2023
    • Graph 28: attitudes toward sustainability, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 29: where consumers think companies should focus their sustainability efforts, 2023
    • Graph 30: companies’ sustainability focus, by gender and age, 2023
  4. Competitive strategies

    • Marketing and advertising
    • Opportunities
  5. Appendix

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Also, our reports come in PDF, Powerpoint, Word and Excel Databook formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Bell Logo - Mintel client
Boots Logo - Mintel Client
Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
Samsung Logo - Mintel client
Nike Logo - Mintel client
Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

Contact Us