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2024 State of Sustainability in America, 22nd Annual Market Research Consumer Trends Report

  • Report

  • 140 Pages
  • January 2024
  • Region: Global
  • Natural Marketing Institute
  • ID: 5615350

Unveiling Sustainable Consumer Insights: A Deep Dive into U.S. Trends and Eco-Conscious Segmentation

The 2024 State of Sustainability in America Report, now in its 22nd year, measures and describes the marketplace for sustainable products and services, the consumers who use them, consumers’ expectations of corporate behavior, and attitudes toward environmental and social issues. In addition, it uncovers consumer motivations and the challenges they encounter in their pursuit to become increasingly aligned with a more sustainable lifestyle.

While challenges may exist regarding the relevance of sustainability in a world which is defined by increasing global unrest, social inequities, historically high inflation and concern over future pandemics, many of the latest findings provide evidence that sustainable ideals and attitudes have taken on a higher level of acceleration and importance in consumers’ mindset. Even further, data results show that consumers expect other entities such as governments and companies to step up and ensure the progress that has been made in sustainable initiatives will continue, even during trying times, in order to protect the very existence of the planet and its inhabitants.

Consumers are also making purchasing decisions based on a growing set of values-based qualities from toxin-free to fair trade. Therefore, the need for an understanding of consumer drivers that affect behavior patterns has never been stronger.

This report uncovers the insights into what may lie ahead and provide perspective on the trends within the sustainability market from a consumer point of view.

Some of the Sustainable topics covered in the report:

  • Consumer insights regarding the health of the planet and what issues resonate most with them
  • Concerns about global warming and planetary survival
  • How segments within society view sustainability differently and what motivates this differentiation
  • Behaviors consumers are adopting and challenges they have to live more sustainably
  • Consumer attitudes toward plastic waste and packaging
  • Interest in corporate initiatives and impact on purchase
  • Growth of natural and organic product use
  • and much more!

Sustainability Segmentation Model Methodology

Development of the Institute’s unique and proprietary segmentation model began with evaluating over 170 different attitudinal and behavioral variables, later narrowed to approximately 21. A k-means clustering method was used. Cluster centers were defined as dense regions in the multivariate space based on a k-means segmentation of the attitudinal variables from the Institute’s Sustainability Consumer Trends Database survey.

This segmentation can be used to identify and predict segment membership as part of a quantitative extrapolative analysis of future consumer behavior.

Table of Contents

1. U.S. Sustainability Consumer Trends Database Overview2. Other Natural Marketing Institute Databases Used in Report3. Definitions of Groups in Report4. Introduction
5. Sustainability Trends and Insights
  • Sustainable Conviction: Moving the Needle
  • Managing Inflation: Doubling Down on "Green"
  • Close to the Tipping Point: Eco-Anxiety
  • Carbon Labeling: It Can Be Offsetting
  • Universal Certification: All for One and One for All
  • Environmental Social Governance 2.0: Widening the Scope
  • Less is Better: Recycling Is Not the Answer
  • Emerging Agriculture: Healthy Soil, Healthy Life
  • Plant-Based Diet: "Mooooove" Over
6. Sustainability Segmentation
  • Sustainability Segmentation Model Methodology
  • Shades of Green
  • Segmentation Overview
  • LOHAS Consumer as Environmental Steward
  • Environmental and Social Engagement
  • Influential and Early Adoption Behavior
  • Sacrificing for the Environment
  • Personal and Planetary Linkage
  • Effect of Inflation across Segments
  • "Green" Purchases vs. Price
  • LOHAS Leaders and Followers
  • LOHAS Leaders and Followers Profile
  • Leaders and Followers "Green" Purchase vs. Price
  • Interest in a Companies' Initiatives
  • Trended Segment Composition
  • The LOHAS Consumer Profile
  • The NATURALITES Consumer Profile
  • The DRIFTERS Consumer Profile
  • The CONVENTIONALS Consumer Profile
  • The UNCONCERNEDS Consumer Profile
  • Demographic Summary Across Segments
7. Consumer Insights on the State of the Planet
  • Perceptions of Planet's Tipping Point
  • Optimism Toward Reversing Climate Change
  • Perception of Personal Ability to Help Environment
  • Concern about Environmental Issues
  • Trended Concern about Environmental Issues
  • Factors Consumers Believe Will Destroy Life on Earth
  • Factors Consumers Believe Will Destroy Life on Earth-Trended
  • Factor: Plastic in Environment
  • Factor: Disease
  • Factor: Global Warming
  • Factor: Depletion of Natural Resources
  • Factor: Lack of Biodiversity
  • Factor: Meat from Animals
8. Waste, Packaging & Recycling
  • Concern about Personal Waste Production
  • Awareness of a Circular Economy
  • Concern about Food Waste
  • Conservation and Reuse Behaviors
  • Concern over Excessive Packaging
  • Preference for Environmentally-Friendly Packaging
  • Interest in Companies' Packaging Initiatives
  • Environmental-Friendliness Ratings of Packaging Types
  • Ratings of Least Environmentally-Friendly Packaging Types
  • Desire for Lowered Plastic Use across Restaurants and Retailers
  • Preference for Material Other than Plastic
  • Preference for Refillable Options
  • Attitudes toward Refillable Packaging
  • Frequency of Recycling across Packaging Types
  • Recycling Skepticism
9. Personal Sustainability Action
  • Concern about Inflationary Prices
  • Impact of Current Economy on Sustainable Behavior
  • Concern about Environmental Protection
  • Positive Sustainable Behavior Change due to Economy
  • Willingness to Make Personal Sacrifices for the Environment
  • Sacrificing for Environment vs. Personal "Green" Lifestyle
  • Impact of Environment on Purchase Decisions
  • Sustainable Behaviors regarding Packaging
  • Sustainable Behaviors regarding Toxins
  • Sustainable Behaviors regarding Alignment with Company Initiatives
  • Sustainable Behaviors with Double-Green Benefits
  • Sustainable Behaviors regarding Conservation
  • Purchase Intent of an Electric or Hybrid Vehicle
  • Influencing Behavior regarding E-Friendly Purchases - Trended
10. Good Corporate Citizenship: Being Accountable
  • Importance of Corporate Citizenship
  • Impact of Corporate Citizenship on Loyalty and Purchase
  • Boycotting Behavior
  • Interest in Corporate Environmental Initiatives
  • Interest in Corporate Social Initiatives
  • Impact of Causal Initiatives
  • Need for Proof of Environmental Claims
  • Methods to Determine Corporate Sustainability Actions
  • Methods to Determine Corporate Sustainability Actions by Generation
  • Perceptions of Heightened Product Value due to Sustainable Initiatives
11. Social Sustainability and Responsibility
  • Interest in Socially Responsible Business
  • Concern for Socially Responsible Initiatives
  • Preference to Purchase from Socially Responsible Companies
  • Interest in Corporate Initiatives regarding Inclusiveness and Female Empowerment
  • Interest in Corporate Initiatives regarding Local Community Support
  • Interest in Corporate Initiative regarding Global Workers
  • Interest in Protecting the Rights of Workers
12. Product Purchase Drivers
  • Influencers to Sustainable Purchase
  • Growth in Influencers to Sustainable Purchase
  • Skepticism and Confusion about Sustainable Purchasing
  • Impact of Sustainable Certifications on Purchase Recognition and Understanding of Certifications
  • Impact of Certifications on Purchase
  • Impact of Regenerative & Organic Certifications on Natural/Organic Category Purchase
  • Understanding of the Benefits of Regenerative and Organic Certifications
  • Ratings of Trustworthiness of Certifications
  • Interest in a Universal Certification
13. Sustainable Product Purchase
  • Concern about Chemicals in Product Categories
  • Frequency of Chemical Monitoring across Categories
  • Environmental Impact of Product Life Cycle Stage
  • Concern for Fertilizers and Pesticides in Agriculture
  • Household Penetration of Organic Foods/Beverages
  • Importance of Food and Beverage Attributes
  • Likelihood to Purchase Plant-Based Foods
  • Purchase of Conventional, Natural or Organic Personal Care Products
  • Growth in Natural or Organic Personal Care Purchase
  • Growth in Importance of Personal Care Attributes
  • Interest in Purchasing Environmentally-Friendly Personal Care Categories
  • Purchase of Conventional, Natural or Organic Household Products
  • Growth in Natural or Organic Household Product Purchase
  • Growth in Importance of Household Cleaning Product Attributes
  • Interest in Purchasing Environmentally-Friendly Household Product Categories
  • Barriers to Environmentally-Friendly Product Purchase
  • Extent of "Green" Product Purchase
  • Impact of Price on Sustainable Product Purchase - Trended
14. Perspectives on Shopping Sustainably
  • Trended Channel Shopping
  • Trended Channel Shopping: General Population vs. LOHAS
  • Shopping at Dollar Stores
  • Trended Grocery Store Shopping
  • Increased Use of Store Brand Food/Beverages
  • Shopping at Thrift Stores
  • Sustainable Initiatives Which Prompt Increased Store Shopping
  • Sustainable Initiatives Which Prompt Increased Store Shopping by Generations