Does Thinking Green=Buying Green?

Thinking green isn’t exactly a green concept anymore, though thinking eco-friendly is merely the initial step on the path to shopping sustainably. While consumers say they are aspiring to shop sustainably, are they regularly doing this, and, if not, what’s getting in their way?

Recently, Prodege partnered with buzzback to conduct and analyze research into shoppers’ behavior when it comes to purchasing sustainable products (in this research, sustainable products were defined as made with sustainable ingredients and/or featuring sustainable packaging).

Using Your Green to Shop Green

Our data reveals that sustainability is increasing in relevance among consumers. In fact, 80% of those we surveyed say they factor in sustainability when it comes time to shop, and two-thirds say they’re more likely to buy a product if it’s produced sustainably. 

Similarly, in looking at key factors that influence consumers’ purchase decisions, some sustainability claims rise to the top. That is to say, 67% deem whether a package is recyclable to be a key factor, and 60% of consumers consider whether a package is made of recycled materials and/or whether it can be reused of importance.

In uncovering consumer insights into sustainable shopping behaviors, Prodege and buzzback found that sustainability is increasing in relevance among consumers.

Gaps in Green Products

For our partnered research on this topic, Prodege and buzzback looked at more than 22 million receipts from the last 12 months to understand whether sustainable products are purchased more often for certain categories than others.  

For example, our shopping cart analysis revealed that 41% of body wash purchases were considered sustainable. By contrast, when purchasing salty snacks, sustainable products make it into carts just 13% of the time. This identifies a gap and perhaps an opportunity within this product category to better market sustainable ingredients and packaging.

Communication is Key

As always, market research is necessary to uncover consumers’ opinions. Knowing that consumer insights are essential to developing a successful brand sustainability strategy, buzzfeed conducted qualitative research for clients which resulted in the conclusion that there is a great deal of confusion among consumers in terms of what products are sustainable. This speaks to the important and crucial role that brands can play in communicating their sustainability efforts to help win over carts and wallets. 

The Best Things Come in Green Packages

So how does a brand communicate its positioning when it comes to sustainability? The research revealed that, while a brand’s sustainability claims matter, its product packaging is also central to reinforcing its sustainability positioning.

A 60-year-old brand recently made headlines with the announcement that it was changing its packaging to be less green in order to be more green. Sprite’s website proclaims “New bottle. Same Sprite” and explains its product is “Now Made with Clear Plastic to Help This Bottle be Re-Made.” Messaging around sustainable packaging is just one way a brand can tout sustainability. Clear cues such as colors and symbols emphasizing eco-friendliness, along with a well thought-out marketing campaign can also help to make a difference in assuring consumers that sustainability is front and center for your brand. 

While Kermit the Frog once said, “it’s not easy being green,” utilizing market research and consumer insights can make it much easier for brands to develop successful sustainability strategies. 

Body wash and salty snacks aren’t the only categories we have in-depth verified purchase data on – discover actionable insights on purchase behaviors and brand loyalty for a range of leading product categories here.

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Rachel Kaye

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