This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US sustainable consumer market including Sustainable Consumer market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the Sustainable Consumer market in the US.

Current market landscape

The attention and spotlight placed on the current climate crisis has only continued to intensify, emphasizing the need for more sustainable lifestyles and business practices worldwide. Despite this growing need, the majority of US consumers continue to demonstrate little engagement in adopting more sustainable behaviors. Consumers continue to struggle with the challenges of living a sustainable lifestyle, particularly a widespread lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to sustainability concepts. Long-standing concepts such as the need for recycling and the consequences of wasting natural resources are top of mind among consumers; however, more abstract concepts such the impact of their carbon footprint or the need for regenerative agriculture fail to meaningfully resonate with consumers.

Future trends in sustainable consumer market research

Despite a lack of personal commitment to sustainability, consumers want the brands they use to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Brand claims such as recyclable packaging and packaging made from recycled materials resonate the most with consumers; brands need to find ways to make claims such as “carbon negative” and “carbon neutral” more tangible and relevant in consumers’ minds.

Quickly understand sustainable consumer market research in the US

  • US consumers’ attitudes towards and personal engagement with living a sustainable lifestyle.
  • Consumers’ understanding of sustainability concepts and predominant knowledge gaps.
  • The potential impacts of the climate crisis that concern consumers the most.
  • Consumers’ expectations for brands’ sustainability and the most resonating environmental claims.

Covered in this green consumption market report

Brands include: Stop The Water While Using Me!, Toward, H&M, Swappie.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Lisa Dubina, a leading analyst in the Culture and Identity sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis on consumer behavior and sustainability in the US to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Despite a growing need for more sustainable behaviors, US consumers continue to be minimally engaged with living a sustainable lifestyle. Consumers perceive sustainable living to be challenging and often confusion. Brands need to work to better educate consumers on various sustainability concepts in hopes of bridging their knowledge gaps and making sustainable living a more attainable goals.
Lisa Dubina, Senior Analyst Culture and Identity
Lisa Dubina
Associate Director, Culture and Identity

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

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

    • Top takeaways
    • Target audience overview
      • Figure 1: Environmental Consciousness, 2022
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Challenge: current consumer engagement with sustainability is minimal
      • Figure 2: Dedication to living sustainably, 2022
      • Figure 3: Challenges to sustainable living, 2022
    • Challenge: A widespread lack of knowledge and understanding makes living sustainably more challenging
      • Figure 4: Understanding “sustainably made,” by household income and education, 2022
      • Figure 5: Interest in environmental claims, 2022
    • Opportunity: Consumers expect brands to uphold sustainable business practices
      • Figure 6: Importance of brand sustainability, 2022
      • Figure 7: Paying more for a sustainable brand, by generation, 2022
    • Opportunity: Brands should tap into consumers’ current sustainability understanding and climate fears into order to improve their knowledge and eco-friendly choices
      • Figure 8: Positive vs negative impact on sustainability, 2022
      • Figure 9: Climate crisis concerns, 2022
  3. Target Audience: The Sustainable Consumer

    • Segmenting consumers by outlook on sustainability
      • Figure 10: Environmental consciousness, 2022
    • Factors
    • Segments
    • Sustainability Enthusiasts (12%)
      • Figure 11: Demographic profile – Sustainably Enthusiasts segment, 2022
    • Sustainably Unsure (20%)
      • Figure 12: Demographic profile – Sustainably Unsure segment, 2022
    • Sustainably Overwhelmed (24%)
      • Figure 13: Demographic profile – Sustainably Overwhelmed segment, 2022
  4. Factors Impacting Sustainability

    • The climate crisis continues to escalate
    • Consumers’ financial wellbeing vs sustainability behaviors
      • Figure 14: Consumer Price Index – Change from previous period, 2007-22
      • Figure 15: Top issues of concern over next six months, US, 2022
  5. The Sustainable Consumer – Fast Facts

  6. Sustainable Lifestyle Engagement

    • Only four in 10 consumers feel they currently live a sustainable lifestyle
      • Figure 16: Dedication to living sustainably, 2022
      • Figure 17: Dedication to living sustainably, by generation and by parental status, 2022
    • It’s challenging to live a fully sustainable lifestyle
      • Figure 18: Challenges to sustainable living, 2022
      • Figure 19: Challenges to sustainable living – costs, by current financial situation, 2022
  7. Current Sustainability Actions and Perceived Impact

    • The majority of consumers feel sustainable actions have a positive impact
      • Figure 20: Impact of sustainable actions, 2022
    • Gen Zs are more likely to be skeptical about the impact of personal sustainability
      • Figure 21: Impact of sustainable actions, by Generation, 2022
    • When it comes to sustainability, consumers are most focused on the impact of wasting resources and the growing rate of personal waste
      • Figure 22: Positive vs negative impact on sustainability, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Stop The Water While Using Me!
      • Figure 23: Stop The Water While Using me! – Refill your karma, 2022
    • Younger generations are more focused on day-to-day sustainability behaviors, while older generations are more focused on the sustainability of their home
      • Figure 24: Positive vs negative impact on sustainability, by generation, 2022
    • The most common sustainable behaviors are shopping alternatives such as buying secondhand, repairing or restoring, and donating
      • Figure 25: Current sustainable behaviors, 2022
    • Consumers are fairly divided on changing their food behaviors to be more sustainable
      • Figure 26: Sustainable solution – food and beverage, 2022
    • Younger consumers and parents are more open to changing their diet for the environment
      • Figure 27: Sustainable solution – food and beverage, by generation and parental status, 2022
    • Parents are the most likely to compost
      • Figure 28: Sustainable solution – Behaviors to decrease waste, by generation, and by parental status, 2022
      • Figure 29: Andersonville’s Clark Street Composts, September 2021
  8. Sustainability Understanding and Knowledge Gaps

    • Nearly half of consumers are unsure what “sustainably made” actually means
      • Figure 30: Understanding sustainably made, by sustainability segments, 2022
    • Across levels of affluence, consumers’ confusion around the concept of sustainability remains consistent
      • Figure 31: Understanding “sustainably made,” by household income and education, 2022
    • The gaps in consumers’ sustainability knowledge extend from food to electronics to home efficiency
      • Figure 32: Sustainability knowledge, 2022
      • Figure 33: Sustainability knowledge, by sustainability segments, 2022
  9. Climate Concerns

    • Consumers are most concerned about the climate crisis causing global climate disasters, rising prices and negative effects on wildlife
      • Figure 34: Climate crisis concerns, 2022
    • Two thirds of consumers have three or more climate crisis concerns
      • Figure 35: Climate crisis concerns – repertoire analysis, 2022
    • Older generations have more climate crisis concerns compared to younger generations, but this trend could be due to current stage of life
      • Figure 36: Climate crisis concerns – repertoire analysis, by generation, 2022
      • Figure 37: Climate crisis concerns – select responses, by generation, 2022
    • Sustainably Unsure consumers have the most climate crisis concerns, followed by Sustainability Enthusiasts
      • Figure 38: Climate crisis concerns – repertoire analysis, by sustainability segments, 2022
    • Sustainably unconcerned segments are most apprehensive about climate change causing rising prices
      • Figure 39: Climate crisis concerns, by sustainability segment, 2022
    • The number of consumers’ climate concerns aligns with their sustainability efforts
      • Figure 40: Sustainability dedication, by climate concerns repertoire, 2022
  10. Expectations for Brands’ Sustainability Efforts

    • Among CSR-focused consumers, two in 10 feel environmental sustainability is the top social cause brands should support
      • Figure 41: Attention to and importance of CSR initiatives, 2022
      • Figure 42: Important causes, 2022
    • Interest in brands’ sustainability continues to be widespread among the general population
      • Figure 43: Importance of brand sustainability, 2022
      • Figure 44: Importance of brand sustainability, 2022
    • Millennials, in particular, will pay more for sustainability
      • Figure 45: Paying more for a sustainable brand, by generation, 2022
  11. Interest in Environmental Claims

    • Packaging that is recyclable or made from recycled materials are the top sustainable claims
      • Figure 46: Interest in environmental claims, 2022
    • There’s opportunity to market repair and rental options to younger consumers
      • Figure 47: Sustainable solution – Buying new alternatives, by generation, 2022
    • The majority of consumers have not yet invested in proactive sustainable purchases, but are interested
      • Figure 48: Sustainable solution – Proactive purchases, 2022
      • Figure 49: Sustainable solution – Proactive purchases, by generations and parental status, 2022
  12. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Tackling Climate Complexity
    • Food and Beverage Landscape
    • Dogfish Head Brewery and Patagonia Provisions partner to create perennial pilsner
      • Figure 50: Drink up to draw down, April 2022
    • Fashion Retail Landscape
    • Fashion retailer Toward introduced purchase cap to fight overconsumption
      • Figure 51: Thoughtful, conscious purchasing with Toward, January 2022
    • H&M launched compostable baby clothing line
      • Figure 52: Compostable clothes for tiny fashion fans, April 2022
    • Technology Landscape
    • Secondhand smartphone vending machines from Swappie
  13. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

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.


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