Insights

Brands increase trust—and prices—through sustainability
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Brands increase trust—and prices—through sustainability

Julia Wilson, VP, Global Responsibility and Sustainability

Consumers will spend up to $150 billion on sustainable products by 2021. However, they don’t value all attributes considered “sustainable” equally, and different attributes resonate best within different product categories. Brands should take care to focus on products with sustainability claims that build credibility and trust—or they could end up alienating their customers.

Given the many overlapping sustainable attributes that shoppers encounter today, we examined which sustainability related product attributes, claims and ingredient profiles could translate to price premiums for brands, with consumers willing to pay more for specific sustainability related attributes.

So, what matters most for U.S. consumers across categories?

In our April 2019 Omnibus study of more than 21,000 U.S. households, we found that products that are environmentally friendly and use recycled packaging resonate most strongly with consumers overall. Consumers find both of these qualities to be the most important to their decision making, as well as top attributes they would pay more for across all categories.

This is good news for all marketers seeking to connect with sustainability minded consumers. Brands across most categories can incorporate recycled packaging into their products, whereas other top attributes—such as farm raised—might be relevant only within specific categories.

With sustainability, as with any other aspect, an awareness of an attribute’s value can increase consumers’ willingness to pay more. Across categories, consumers’ familiarity with an attribute strongly correlated with their willingness to pay more for it. Consumers could note if they were willing to pay “a little” or “a lot” for each sustainability benefit. The top attributes that more than one-third of consumers were willing to pay more for included: cruelty free (31%), farm raised (32%), organic farming (33%) and environmentally friendly (33.5%).

Whether you’ve incorporated these sustainability attributes into your products today or not, a better understanding of both your consumers’ awareness of and interest in different sustainability attributes can help you plan for the future while delivering on consumers’ expectations today.

As we shared in our recent how-to guide for embedding sustainability into your business and consumer engagement strategy, putting a sustainability lens on your everyday analytics—in this case, consumer awareness and pricing optimization—can create new opportunities for your brand to win.