Global Consumer Archetypes to Foster Sustainable Living

Consumers International and GlobeScan’s latest research report, ‘Global Consumer Archetypes to Foster Sustainable Living,’ uncovers new consumer insights to help policymakers and businesses enable people to live more sustainably.

The study addresses critical questions around the aspiration-action gap between different consumer segments, understanding the motivations that drive them and the trade-offs they encounter.

The report highlights the different strategies that might motivate four consumer segments (Conscious Consumers, Seekers, Supporters and Savers), as well as potential interventions to engage each segment in more sustainable living.

Key Insights

  • 94% of consumers support the shift to a green economy and over 80% hold governments, businesses, and international institutions responsible for implementing the changes needed.
  • 87% of consumers say they are feeling the impacts of the rising cost of living. This is especially true for the Savers segment.
  • Consumers are supportive of making the green option the default. This removes the need for consumers to search for and compare different items over just one purchase parameter.
  • Highlighting additional benefits of sustainable products and services —like style, performance, and technology— is particularly important for the Seekers and Savers segments who are less motivated by sustainability.
  • Consumers need to understand the positive impacts of their actions to adopt sustainable behaviours. This is true for both the Conscious Consumers segment who feel they are already doing a lot but may not be engaging in the most impactful actions, and consumers who are reluctant to make big changes without an obvious need.
  • Tailoring interventions to different consumer segments is likely to result in greater uptake of sustainable living. This means greater empowerment for Conscious Consumers, increased desirability for Seekers, normalising the opportunity for the Supporters segment, and making sustainability affordable and accessible for Savers.

Four Consumer Segments

We identified four distinct consumer segments based on their attitudes toward sustainability, the sustainable actions they take, and their openness to technology as a solution.

  1. Conscious Consumers are actively trying to be more sustainable at home and when they shop. They have low trust in government and business but high feelings of personal responsibility. Conscious Consumers are more likely to be female, home-owning, suburban, and over the age of 40.
  2. Seekers are materialistic and do not proactively make sustainable choices. They enjoy trying new technologies and are often early adopters. They have low feelings of personal responsibility and high trust in government and business. Seekers are more likely to be male, urban, renters, and under 40.
  3. Supporters engage in sustainable actions that are part of the social norm and are motivated by improving health and lifestyle. They have medium feelings of personal responsibility and low trust in government and business. Supporters are more likely to be male and over 40.
  4. Savers feel more impacted by climate change but their desire to make a difference is limited by cost and access constraints. They have high feelings of personal responsibility and high trust in government and business. Savers are more likely to be under 40 and living in urban households with children. 

GlobeScan is a member of Consumers International’s Change Network of impactful organisations that Consumers International works with to help shape a safe, fair, and sustainable future for consumers everywhere

Building upon data collected through GlobeScan’s 2023 Healthy & Sustainable Living 2023 survey of 30,000 consumers across 31 global markets (conducted in July – August 2023) GlobeScan identified four new consumer segments, each requiring a unique approach to help them live more sustainably.

GlobeScan then conducted in-depth interviews across 31 households in five countries — Brazil, China, India, Kenya, and Spain – to explore more specific needs and support.