Research from Procter & Gamble shows that consumer spending on sustainable products has significant potential. In 2007, when exploring sustainability as an opportunity to grow the business, the company began looking at existing products that claimed to be “green.” At the time, sustainable products seemed to have a small share, sold mostly in specialty stores. They were focused on high-end consumers, because the lion’s share of sustainable products were made by smaller companies, in smaller batches, and with no economy of scale (per US News and World Report)
P&G wanted to understand how consumers looked at sustainability to see if it could reach the mainstream. The company did its first consumer sustainability study, and found that there are three general groups of consumers. P&G has conducted the study several times and has found the results to remain consistent. The most recent study, P&G Sustainability LOHAS Consumer Sustainability Data, was conducted in June of 2013. It found that:
– “Green niche” consumers believe strongly in the environmental movement and are willing to accept trade-offs – such as higher prices and a decrease in performance — for buying sustainable brands. These comprise about 15 percent of consumers.