52 Huge Environmentally Conscious Consumer Statistics

Arabella Ruiz
By 
Arabella Ruiz is a senior researcher at The Roundup, specializing in data and statistics. She lives in San Antonio, Texas and has been interested in the environment from an early age. Arabella loves to campaign for environmental causes and fundraise for charities that aim to preserve wildlife habitat, protect endangered species or help people with climate change problems.
Arabella Ruiz
Category: 
Updated: April 30, 2024

Caring for the environment is now a key factor for both brands and consumers around the world.

By purchasing products made from sustainable materials, supporting companies with environmentally friendly practices, or switching to an entirely zero-waste lifestyle, consumers are beginning to take steps to live more sustainably.

But just how widespread is the sustainability trend, and will it continue? To answer these questions, our team has researched the latest environmentally conscious consumer statistics and data.

We investigated the size and growth of the sustainable products market, consumer attitudes toward sustainable brands, the effect of the pandemic and the global economy on sustainable purchases, and the effects of brands’ environmental messaging.

Using the latest available data, this report will answer all your questions about environmentally conscious consumers in 2024.

Key Statistics

  • Sustainable Products have an overall 17% market share and a 32% share of growth.
  • Products marketed as sustainable grew 2.7x faster than those that were not.
  • 75% of sustainable goods sell better online than in-store.
  • 78% of consumers feel that sustainability is important.
  • 62% of people say they “always or often” seek products to purchase because they are sustainable
  • 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly brands.
  • 84% of customers say that poor environmental practices will alienate them from a brand or company.

Sustainable Products Market Data

Market Share for Sustainable Products is Increasing

sustainable products global market share

Statistics show that sustainably made products enjoy an increased share of the market and a far higher growth rate than those that have not been made in a sustainable way.

  • Products that are marked as sustainable now enjoy a 17% share of the overall market value.
  • This shows a 3.3% increase from 2015.
  • Sustainable products have a 32% share of market growth.
  • They grew 2.7x faster than conventional products (7.34% CAGR compared to 2.76%)

Searches for Sustainable Goods Have Increased Rapidly

There is growing interest in researching and buying sustainable products online.

  • Global Google searches for topics related to sustainable products increased by around 130% between 2017 and 2022.
  • Searches made in the US followed a similar trend, increasing by 117% over the same time period.

Sales of Carbon Labeled Products Doubled in One Year

Many consumers are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and they appear to have identified the emissions associated with the goods that they buy as a key factor in achieving this.

  • Carbon Labeled products (such as those with 1% For the Planet or Climate Neutral Certification) enjoyed more than $3.4 Billion worth of sales in 2021 - double that of the previous year.

Sustainable Products are More Popular Online than In-Store

Brands that sell eco-friendly goods, such as zero-waste stores, are more likely to have success when selling online than in a physical store.

  • 75% of product categories saw sustainable products perform better in terms of market share when sold via online e-commerce than in-store.

This may be influenced by the demographic that shops online, as well as the increased real estate available to showcase a product’s eco-credentials on a website as opposed to a store shelf.

Consumer Attitudes Toward Sustainability

Most People Think Sustainability is Important

consumer sentiment towards sustainability pie chart

Consumers as a whole are warm to the idea of living and shopping greener. A survey of 10,281 global consumers showed that:

  • 78% agree that environmental sustainability is important, that the concept of sustainability appeals to them, and that they want to lead more sustainable lives.
  • 63% have actually taken either moderate or significant steps to modify their lifestyle, including adopting greener buying habits, in an attempt to become more sustainable.

A separate 2023 survey of 2,414 U.S. adults revealed a similar change in purchasing habits:

  • 62% of people say they “always or often” seek products to purchase because they are sustainable for the environment, which is up from just 27% in 2021.
  • 82% of consumers consider sustainability when buying a mattress, although 52% are worried that a sustainable mattress would cost too much.

Millennials are More Likely to Adopt Sustainable Buying Habits

There is a generation gap when it comes to those consumers who have modified their lifestyles.

  • Baby Boomers (59%) are least likely to have made modest, significant, or total changes toward living sustainably, with Gen X (62%) and Millenials (67%) showing a greater uptake.

Consumer Attitudes Vary by Country

Regional attitudes toward sustainability differ quite significantly.

  • Consumers in Brazil (44%)l, China (43%), Austria (42%), and Italy (41%) are the most likely to have made a significant or total change towards a sustainable lifestyle - although it is noted that the respondents in Brazil and China had a higher proportion of younger and better-educated demographic.
  • Japan (16%) had the lowest percentage of consumers who had made sustainability changes.
  • The US (22%) lagged behind and also showed one of the highest percentages of consumers who had made no changes at all (21%).

Most Consumers are Willing to Reduce Consumption to Help the Environment

Consumers appear to be getting less selfish and more willing to buy and consume less in order to reduce their environmental impact.

  • 68% of global consumers say they would be willing to reduce their consumption by half to avoid environmental damage and/or climate change.
  • When broken down by region, the willingness is higher (78%) in Africa and the Middle East, and lowest (58%) in North America.

Consumers are Behaving More Sustainably

graph showing consumer sustainable behavior

Global attitudes towards sustainability are changing slowly but surely. The following sustainable behaviors have all seen an increase since 2021.

  • 68% of people now use their own shopping bag
  • 59% of people recycle regularly
  • 51% avoid products that they know are bad for the environment
  • 47% avoid single-use plastic where possible
  • 40% buy organic or natural products

Social Factors are More Important to Consumers than Environmental Factors

The environment is important to consumers, but they appear to put equal or even greater importance on legislative, human rights, and fair trade policies.

A sample of US consumers was asked “To what extent would a company’s environmental, social and governance actions influence your behavior to purchase a product or service from the company?”

The percentage that said that they would “often or always” be influenced by these factors was as follows:

  • Environmental factors e.g., commitment to reducing carbon emissions, using recycled materials or reducing plastic waste in its products 29%
  • Social factors e.g., supporting human rights, supporting diversity and inclusion of workers and staff, or supporting local communities 39%
  • Governance factors e.g., being transparent and ethical, complying with regulations or managing customer data and privacy appropriately 35%

Most Consumers Will Pay More For Local / Domestic Goods

Buying locally sourced goods benefits the environment by cutting down on emissions from shipping. Many customers are happy to do this, even when they have to pay a premium - but the environmental benefits are not seen as the most important.

  • 80% of consumers are willing to pay more for products that are produced locally.
  • Of these, 33% state that the reason for this is to lower their carbon footprint, and 38% do so in order to know how and where the product was made.
  • The most common reason is to support their local economy (60%).

Effects of COVID & the Global Economy

The Pandemic Made Consumers More Eco-Friendly

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries introduced lockdowns, and people were forced to spend more time at home. This seems to have had an impact on their environmental awareness.

  • In 2021, 50% of global consumers said that they had become more eco-friendly in the past six months.

Home Workers Make More Environmentally Conscious Purchases

graph showing eco buying habits of consumers who work from home vs consumers who do not

Consumers who primarily work from home may have more spare time, and can better reflect on the purchases they make compared to those who don’t work from home:

  • 62% of home workers say they buy from companies that support protecting the environment compared to 50% of those who don’t.
  • 61% of home workers buy products with eco-friendly or less packaging, compared to 55% of those who don’t.
  • 61% of home workers buy more biodegradable/eco-friendly products, compared to 50% of those who don’t.

Eco-Friendly Products are Considered to be Premium

The majority of consumers consider eco-friendly products to be in a premium price range as compared to unsustainable products.

  • Green transport (cars, trucks, and e-bikes) is considered to be more expensive by 79% of consumers. Electronic goods by 75%, food and drink by 74%, and sustainable home furnishings and personal care products by 72%.
  • This comes at a time when 74% of consumers say they are trading down due to the rising cost of living.
  • The perceived price premium is actually correct. Sustainable products do have a 28% premium over conventional products, but the gap is decreasing. Sustainable goods cost as much as 39% more in 2018.

Sustainable brands, therefore, need to concentrate on price as well as environmental impact in order to change perceptions and buying habits.

Consumers Feel Eco-Friendly Goods are Getting More Expensive

There is a perception that sustainably made products are getting more expensive - although this isn’t unique as most unsustainable products have also increased in price due to global inflation.

  • 75% of global consumers feel that eco-friendly products have become more expensive over the last year.

Cost of Living Affects Consumers' Willingness to Pay More for Eco-Friendly Products

As the global cost of living increases, consumers appear to be less willing to pay a premium for sustainable goods.

  • Globally 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products or brands that work to improve society and the environment, down from 58% the previous year.
  • Willingness to pay more has declined the most over the last year in Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
  • Consumers in Kenya, Vietnam, and India are most willing (80%). Consumers in Japan are the least willing (38%). In the US it is 51%.

There Has Been a Slight Decline in Eco-Sentiment Since 2020

Consumers' priorities are changing, perhaps forcibly so due to the cost of living crisis.

  • Since 2020, the overall “sentiment score” from consumers saying that helping the environment is important to them has declined from 0.43 to 0.39.
  • Likewise the number of people who expect brands to be eco-friendly as a priority has declined from 52% to 44%.

In a time of low economic confidence, when sustainable brands are considered a luxury, consumers will often be forced to choose less sustainable options out of necessity rather than preference.

Sustainability Messaging & Brand Engagement Statistics

Sustainability Affects Trust More Than Purchasing Decisions

  • 50% of global consumers say that environmental factors (commitment to reducing carbon emissions, using recycled materials, or reducing plastic waste in its products) will often or always influence their decision to trust a brand.
  • 48% say that these factors will determine whether they recommend a brand to others
  • But only 30% say that they will determine whether or not they purchase from the company.

Sustainability Messaging Does Not Reach All Consumers

  • Consumers aged 30 or under are more likely to have seen or been influenced by brands’ messaging on sustainability, but overall this is only reaching around 50% of consumers globally.
  • The most significant “generation gap” in environmentally friendly messaging is in eco-friendly clothing, where 61% of those under 30 have seen sustainable clothing brands communicating about how environmentally friendly they are, compared to just 45% of over 30s.

Most Consumers are Not Concerned About Greenwashing

Many brands have been criticized by environmental organizations for greenwashing in the past, but this is not an issue that concerns most consumers.

  • 79% of people who have heard brands communicating about their sustainability are likely to trust that messaging.

Consumers are likely to trust eco-friendly certifications, labeling, or trusted third-party recommendations to help them make purchasing decisions.

Poor Environmental Practices Can Alienate Customers

There may be other reasons apart from environmental factors that attract consumers to a brand or product. However, poor or irresponsible environmental practices are among the main reasons that can cause a customer to turn their back on a company’s products for good.

The following factors are most likely to alienate a customer from a brand:

  • Poor environmental track record (84%)
  • Unsustainable packaging (83%)
  • Poor compliance record (82%)
  • Irresponsible sourcing of materials (82%)
  • Poor human rights track record (82%)

Sources

AquasanaSustainable Market Share IndexGlobal Sustainability StudyGlobal Consumer Insights Pulse SurveyGlobescan Healthy & Sustainable Living HighlightsPWCPWCMcKinseyGWI Consumer Insights

You May Also Like

Arabella Ruiz
Arabella Ruiz
Arabella Ruiz is a senior researcher at The Roundup, specializing in data and statistics. She lives in San Antonio, Texas and has been interested in the environment from an early age. Arabella loves to campaign for environmental causes and fundraise for charities that aim to preserve wildlife habitat, protect endangered species or help people with climate change problems.
TheRoundup.org - As Seen On
As Seen On Logos

TheRoundup

Your guide to a green and eco-friendly lifestyle. We offer simple, practical advice that anyone can follow. Together we can make a difference today & save tomorrow.
SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES

All Content ©2024 TheRoundup - All Rights Reserved.

108 E Main St Suite 3 Fredericksburg, TX 78624 | +1-830-904-0838 | [email protected]