Sustainable Purchasing Patterns and Consumer Responsiveness to Sustainability Marketing

32 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2019 Last revised: 2 Nov 2019

See all articles by Randi Kronthal-Sacco

Randi Kronthal-Sacco

New York University (NYU) - Center for Sustainable Business

Tensie Whelan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Tracy Van Holt

NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

Ulrich Atz

New York University (NYU) - Center for Sustainable Business

Date Written: August 1, 2019

Abstract

Do on-package sustainability claims lead to both better product performance and category growth (and thus to a better world)? We conducted a large-scale study of actual consumer purchasing behavior using IRI retail scanned barcode data at point of sale from 2013-2018. We analyzed 36 consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories, representing 41% of total CPG dollar volume. We used this to calculate that 51% of the growth in the in-sample CPG market came from sustainability-marketed products. Shares of sustainability-marketed products grew across categories, and at the expense of conventionally-marketed products and in some categories are moving from niche to mainstream. In a detailed analysis of sustainability messages from five select categories representing high and low market shares, the most salient messages were category specific, with organic being the most pervasive. Legacy brands that adopted sustainability messages were benefiting from much of the sustainability marketed dollar share. Finally, while higher efficacy products with sustainability claims had lower market shares than lower efficacy products, that too is changing, and our analysis shows that messaging combining performance with sustainability can increase consumer purchasing.

Keywords: consumer, sustainability messaging, sustainable consumption, consumer packaged goods

JEL Classification: M31, M37

Suggested Citation

Kronthal-Sacco, Randi and Whelan, Tensie and Van Holt, Tracy and Atz, Ulrich, Sustainable Purchasing Patterns and Consumer Responsiveness to Sustainability Marketing (August 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3465669 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3465669

Randi Kronthal-Sacco

New York University (NYU) - Center for Sustainable Business ( email )

44 West 4th St.
New York, NY 10012
United States

Tensie Whelan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Tracy Van Holt (Contact Author)

NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business ( email )

44 West 4th St.
New York, NY 10012
United States

Ulrich Atz

New York University (NYU) - Center for Sustainable Business ( email )

44 West 4th St.
New York, NY 10012
United States

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