Examining the Conscious Consumer: Segments, Stats, Brands, Facts

March 9, 2010sparxoo_admin

In the 1960s, fringe groups sparked awareness of animal cruelty, environmental sustainability and numerous other causes — eventually giving birth to organizations such as PETA in the 1980s. Messages from these fringe groups have filtered down into mainstream culture, giving rise to today’s Conscious Consumer class. Conscious Consumers are a diverse group that collectively believe in and support the sustainability of life on this planet through buying decisions — whether it’s hormone-free meat or donating to the search to cure breast cancer. “At a time of extreme clutter (messages, labels, products), conscious consumers are prizing transparency, accountability and authenticity more than ever,” writes branding agency, BBMG in the Conscious Consumer Report.

Defining Characteristics

Eco-Go-Getters are proficient and efficient. Their savvy helps them make informed buying decisions. While many Eco-go-getter can only aspire to trade in the sedan or mini van for a Smart Car or Prius, most make small changes, such as substituting disposable for Sigg/Kleen or BPA free Nalgene bottles or recycling. They understand the eco-impact of long-distance travel so they try to shop at local farmers markets when they can, but if Eco-Go-Getters need to pick up something from the store, they usually stop by Whole Foods.

Key Facts:

  • Some plastics have a thousand-year-decomposition time
  • With 60 million plastic bottles thrown away each day in the U.S., one Brita filter is the equivalent to 300 standard bottles of water

Brand Profile: Prius, Brita, Whole Foods

Cleasners strive for a pollutant-free lifestyle. They eat organic as much as possible to avoid harmful chemicals in produce and meat and use non-toxic cleaning solutions and makeup. Unlike the Eco-Go-Getters, Cleansers shop local because there are more pesticide-free products than at the national grocer. Cleansers also believe physical exercise is a part of a healthy balance. Yoga and strength-training exercises are a part of their daily routine. They believe their body is their temple.

Key Facts:

Brand Profile: Green Works, Locavore

Healers are the Mother Teresas’ among Conscious Consumers. Healers want to preserve mankind by eliminating hunger, disease and poverty. They are your Bonos’, Bill and Melinda Gates’ and Susan B. Komens’. Some Healers donate part of their Christmas presents to Toys for Tots or a Thanksgiving turkey to homeless shelters or send an online charity donation card. The thought of human suffering motivates them to donate either time or money.

Key Facts:

  • A CNCS report shows that about 8.2 million young people (ages 16-24) volunteered in 2008, compared with about 7.6 million in 2007
  • Fifty percent of non-profits reported an increase in volunteer hours at their organization
  • Community volunteerism increased 31 percent last year

Brand Profile: product (RED), Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross

Macro Trend

Giving In, Greedy Out — Corporate responsibility is quickly becoming the cost of doing business as Conscious Consumers seek social impact in their buying decisions. Corporations are developing a triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) that speaks to this growing Conscious Consumer class. Clorox’s Green Works reached incredible sales milestones in its first year sales, Hewlett-Packard ranked no. 1 in Newsweek’s Green Rankings for its strong programs to reduce GHG emissions, and a long line of corporate brands jumped on the Haiti bandwagon to capture the consumers attention. More and more businesses are incorporating a triple bottom line to appeal to this formerly niche, now mainstream Conscious Consumer class.

Read all of our psychographic trends: