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Every Statistic and Quote You Need to Know About Sustainable Consumers

Green consumers are... elusive. Hapres put it well when they said that marketers are "reticent to introduce products that are marketed as sustainable because prior research identifies a discrepancy between what consumers say they intend to purchase and what they actually do at retail." However, the data are showing that even at the POS, customers are voting for sustainable with their wallets.

In this post we share a long list of quotes and statistics that prove the eco-conscious buyer is out there for your products, and they are waiting for you.

Quotes that make the case for sustainable products

"People like to be consistent, so if they adopt one sustainable behavior, they are often apt to make other positive changes in the future." (HBR)

"We recommend that companies work to understand the wants and needs of their target market, along with the barriers and benefits to realizing behavioral change, and tailor their strategies accordingly. We also recommend pilot A/B testing to determine which tactics work best." (HBR)

"Brands have a key role to play. Because, although people think they can make a difference, they want more help doing it." (Forbes)

"Consumers need you to do more than your own sustainability, social purpose or brand activism." (Forbes)

"Too much of the cause-related-marketing, sustainability or CSR activities of brands promote what the company is doing, rather than helping the consumer to make their own difference." (Forbes)

"The consumer is right, we don’t make it easy for her to be good." (Forbes)

"A good product is no longer enough to win a consumer's favor. Shoppers want more than just quality, often looking for products and brands that align with their personal values." (BI)

"There is accumulating evidence that consumers are impacted by the perceived sustainability of [a] brand, and further, that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable competitor brand." (BI)

"Even if being sustainable isn't a personal priority, the idea of using a purchase to do good is attractive to many shoppers." (BI)

"Purchasing expensive products that are environmentally-friendly in some way can help us compensate for the guilt we feel about our self-indulgent spending, Dr. Johnson explains. "A part of us feels guilty about the money we're spending on a new Prius, for example, but the fact that it's a product which has an environmentally friendly angle helps us feel better about the purchase." (BI)

"Social Signaling, a theory that we buy certain things because of what they say about us to the people around us." (BI)

"We may buy a Prius (at least in part) because it is a purchase reliably associated with environmental consciousness, and we want to signal that we're environmentally conscious," (BI)

"We may not be able to give up eating meat, driving to work, or wearing cashmere, but we can tweak these habits to make them better for the planet." (BI)

"Corporations would do well to understand what attributes matter to consumers and meet the sustainable traits they’re seeking." (Nielsen)

"U.S. consumers continue to choose sustainable products over conventional options, making sustainability a consistent growth opportunity for manufacturers." (Nielsen)

"Companies will need to clearly communicate and have the data to prove how their sustainable factors help consumers." (Nielsen)

"Luckily for the planet, research from the New York University Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) shows shoppers aren't all talk but are actually following through with buying more sustainable goods." (Fortune)

Sustainable consumer statistics

"96% of people feel their own actions, such as donating, recycling or buying ethically, can make a difference." (Forbes)

"If your brand isn’t helping your consumers improve their environmental and social footprint, then you’re in danger of disappointing 88% of them" (Forbes)

88% of consumers want brands to help them live sustainably

"Value and ease of purchase are still the main drivers of purchase decisions, but sustainability is becoming a bigger factor. A 2019 survey led by Hotwire found that 47% of internet users worldwide had ditched products and services from a brand that violated their personal values. Protecting the environment topped that list." (BI)

"Nearly three in four consumers now say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact." (Cargill)

"As a result, about 22% of products in the store now claim some sustainable attributes, and this number is expected to reach 25% by 2021." (Cargill)


"Sustainable shoppers are 67% more likely to be digitally savvy, using their electronic devices to help them make purchasing decisions simply and easily at their fingertips." (Nielsen)

"Consumers are putting their dollars where their values are, spending $128.5 billion on sustainable fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products this year" (Nielsen)

"Since 2014, these influential shoppers have grown sustainable product sales by nearly 20%, with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) that’s four times larger than conventional products (3.5% vs -1.0%** comparatively)" (Nielsen)

"By 2021, we expect sustainable goods will make up 25% of store sales." (Nielsen)

"When surveyed, Millennials are twice as likely (75% vs. 34%) than Baby Boomers to say they are definitely or probably changing their habits to reduce their impact on the environment. They’re also more willing to pay more for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients (90% vs. 61%), organic / natural ingredients (86% vs. 59%), or products that have social responsibility claims (80% vs. 48%)." (Nielsen)

"60% of Americans fall into the “Sustainable Mainstream” category. They want to be more sustainable, but they are also searching for some added benefits, such as improving health or cost and environmental savings." (Nielsen)

"Sustainable products grew 5.6x faster than products not marketed as sustainable (5-yr CAGR)" (NYU)

"Over 90% categories examined (33 of 36 categories)* saw Sustainability-Marketed Products outperforming both category and their conventional counterparts" (NYU)


"In four of the five categories examined, third-party certified sustainability-marketed products significantly outgrew sustainable products that had sustainable messaging, but no third-party certification." (Hapres)

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