Consumers and Sustainability: Personal Care

Sep 1, 2009
38 Pages - Pub ID: LA2108842
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This report forms part of a series jointly published by The Hartman Group and Packaged Facts on Consumers and Sustainability. This four-part series covers in separate reports the markets for foods and beverages, personal care products, household cleaners, and OTC medications and supplements.

Sustainability means different things to different people. Asked to identify what the term means to them, consumers most frequently respond “the ability to last over time” (76%) and “the ability to support oneself.” Sustainability is also strongly associated with environmental concerns, whereby consumers are being challenged to develop and express an “eco-consciousness” in their daily habits and purchases. Thus, nearly half of consumers associate sustainability with conserving natural resources and with recycling.

But using “eco-conscious” or “green” as synonymous with sustainability unduly limits the term. “Green” falls short as a description for the variety of social, economic and environmental issues that real-world individuals believe are important to sustaining themselves, their communities, and society at large. Adoption of sustainable products mirrors the health and wellness progression that The Hartman Group has previously reported, in which consumers first consider the impacts of things in the body, followed by on the body, and finally around the body.

As consumers become more educated about the environmental, social, and economic implications of their shopping habits, their health and wellness motivations dovetail with societal concerns, such that four zones of sustainability become relevant to purchasing choices:

  • The Personal Benefit Zone
  • The Environmental Zone
  • The Social Zone
  • The Economic Zone

Within the personal care market—which includes cleansers, soap, moisturizer, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics and fragrances—personal health and wellness needs are the most important factor in what motivates a consumer to purchase a sustainable product. However, attributes such as “chemical free” and “not tested on animals” are also frequent considerations for conventional and alternative personal care products alike.

Consumers often review the ingredients contained in a personal care product looking for recognizable, pronounceable ingredients as an indication of “naturalness.” Although the term “natural” has lost significance in other categories, it remains a meaningful term to reference a variety of sustainable personal care product attributes that also signify quality to consumers.

Read an excerpt from this report below.

Series Methodology

This report series was jointly produced by The Hartman Group and Packaged Facts, and is based on The Hartman Group’s 2009 multi-category study, Sustainability: The Rise of Consumer Responsibility. In addition, Packaged Facts provides an update of consumer attitudes and spending based on a proprietary online poll conducted in February 2009 and on Experian Simmons surveys fielded from November 2008 to June 2009.

The Hartman Group Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

This report draws primarily on an online survey of 1,856 U.S. adults conducted in September 2008 by The Hartman Group to understand consumer attitudes and behaviors related to sustainability. The sample was drawn from a panel of adult U.S. consumers with Internet access, and was designed to provide good representation of the U.S. population according to geographic area, age, gender, race and income. The Hartman Group also conducted qualitative research on sustainability in three markets (Seattle, Dallas, and Columbus) during August 2008, using consumer ethnography with fifty consumers as the cornerstone of qualitative research. Ethnographic interviews included one-on-one conversations at an individual’s home or at a specific retail setting, as well as group interviews also at consumers’ homes. These engagements garnered more than 100 hours of in-depth, revelatory consumer discussion.

Chapter 1: Methodology
A Joint Publication of The Hartman Group and Packaged Facts
The Hartman Group Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
About The Hartman Group, Inc
About Packaged Facts


Chapter 2: Sustainability & the American Consumer
Establishing a Definition of Sustainability
Figure 2-1: What “Sustainability” Means to Consumers
Sustainability Concerns and Purchasing Decisions
Figure 2-2: Frequency of Purchase Decisions Based on Sustainability Concerns
A Consumer-based Model of Responsibility
Figure 2-3: The Four Zones of Sustainability
Experiential Triggers
Figure 2-4: Triggers for Awareness
Informational Triggers
Figure 2-5: Top Sources of Information on Sustainability
The World of Sustainability: Core to Periphery
Figure 2-6: The World of Sustainability
Motivations and Barriers to Purchase
Convenience
Price
Expert Opinion
Experience
Knowledge
Table 2-1: Motivations and Barriers for Sustainable Purchases


Chapter 3: Personal Care and the Sustainability Consumer
The Personal Care Market and the Zones of Sustainability
Personal Benefit Zone of Sustainability
Environmental Zone of Sustainability
Recognizable Ingredients
Organic
Wild-Grown, Hand-Harvested
Chemical-Free
Social Zone of Sustainability
Humane Treatment of Animals
Motivations and Pathway(s) for Adoption
Attributes of Sustainable Personal Care
Natural is the Foremost Attribute of Sustainable Personal Care
Hierarchy of Specific Attributes
Table 3-1: Chemicals Consumers Avoid in Sustainable Personal Care Products
Relevant Personal Care Certification(s)
Cruelty Free
Organic
Other Certifications
Personal Care Product Packaging
Table 3-2: Packaging Do’s and Don’ts for Sustainable Personal Care Products
Purchase Criteria
Table 3-3: Purchase Criteria for Sustainable Personal Care Products
A Note about Sustainable Cosmetics
Quantitative Findings on Sustainable Personal Care Purchasing
Table 3-4: General Personal Care Product Categories and Corresponding Sustainable Versions
Figure 3-1: Purchases of Personal Care Products (By Product Category: General Category vs. Sustainable Versions)
Figure 3-2: Current Market Reach of Sustainable Personal Care Products (By Product Category)
Figure 3-3: Current Market Reach and Immediate Growth Opportunity of Sustainable Personal Care Products (By Product Category)
Figure 3-4: Willingness to Pay a Premium (20% More) for Sustainable Personal Care Products (By Product Category)


Chapter 4: Summary and Key Insights
Personal Health and Wellness Needs Are Key to Purchases
Tenets for Package Communications


Chapter 5: Market Update
Responses to Economic Downturn
Sustainability Convictions Largely Unchanged by Recession
Table 5-1: Recent Trends in Sustainability Psychographics: Opinions
Table 5-2: Recent Trends in Sustainability Psychographics: Behaviors
Consumers Remain Receptive to Natural HBC
Product Efficacy vs. Product Safety
Table 5-3: Percent Agreeing with Selected Psychographic Statements on Natural/Organic Health and Beauty Care Products, February 2009 (U.S. adults)
Only a Minority Are Inclined to Cut Back
Figure 5-1: Percent of Natural HBC Product Purchasers Who Anticipate Spending Less on HBC Products Within the Next Twelve Months, February 2009 (U.S. adults who purchase natural HBC products)
Market Growth Remains an Upward Arc
Table 5-4: Projected U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Natural Personal Care Products, 2008-2014 (dollars in millions)

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