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CSB Research

Sustainable Market Share Index™

CSB partnered with IRI® following up its seminal 2019 analysis examining consumer purchases of sustainability-marketed consumer packaged goods.

READ THE 2021 REPORT

Sustainable Market Share Index™

The Sustainable Market Share Index is an annual analysis of the latest national purchasing data for consumer packaged good (CPG) products marketed as sustainable. NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) partners with IRI, who generously donated the purchasing data of sustainably-marketed products in 36 CPG categories (excluding alcohol and tobacco), comprising ~40% of the total CPG market in sales from 2013-2021. CSB uses this data to report on the market share for sustainable products and what factors are contributing to its continued growth. Pioneered by Senior Scholar Randi Kronthal-Sacco, each year's report builds on previous analysis and addresses new research questions based on current trends. Click here to read the full 2021 report, and see below of key findings and previous reports.

 

The 2021 Sustainable Market Share Index™ finds that sustainability-marketed products are responsible for a third of the growth in consumer packaged goods (CPGs) from 2015 to 2021, and market share growth continues year over year.

Sustainability-marketed products continue to grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Products marketed as sustainable now hold a 17.0% market share, up +3.3 percentage points verus 2015, with significant growth during the pandemic.
  • Sustainability marketed products delivered approximately one-third of all CPG growth, despite representing 17% share.
  • Carbon labeled products now account for $3.4B in sales, doubling from $1.7B in 2020.
  • Products marketed as sustainable grew 2.7x faster than products not marketed as sustainable and achieved a 6-YR CAGR of 7.3% vs. 2.8% for its conventional counterparts.
  • The market share of sustainability-marketed products aligns along a continuum based on perceived category functionality or efficacy. Even in categories with low shares, shares of sustainability-marketed products increased.
  • Sustainability marketed products enjoy stronger shares online vs. in-store.
While the premium of sustainibility-marketed products shrunk relative to 2018, they still enjoyed a sizeable price premium of 29%* vs. their conventional counterparts.
*weighted by sustainable dollars
  • Sustainability-marketed branded products have a price premium of 28% vs. their conventionally marketed branded counterparts, but the differential has decreased-11.8 pts since. 2018 as more historically conventional products adopt sustainable benefits.
  • Since the pandemic, year to year price increases of conventionally marketed products have outpaced their sustainable counterparts.
  • Sustainability-marketed products are largely less sensitive to price.
Sustainability drives innovation in CPG cagtegories.
  • The percentage of new products that incorporate sustainability benefits have increased every year since 2017.
  • In 2021, approximately one out of every two new products introduced had a sustainable benefit.
  • Green Chemistry formulations are growing share and contributing differentially to category growth.
“Our analysis demonstrates that products marketed as sustainable continue to grow faster than their conventional counterparts, drive innovation, and contribute to one third of the growth to overall CPG, despite a significant price premium. Moreover, these products not only survived, but continued to grow during the pandemic. Our research demonstrates the perceived consumer demand is realized by purchasing data, and growing,” said Randi Kronthal-Sacco, Senior Scholar at the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business (CSB), who pioneers the research initiative.
 

Despite the fact that sustainability-marketed products are less than one-fifth of the market, they delivered one-third of the CPG market growth (2015-2021).

Sustainability-marketed products grew more than twice as as fast as conventionally marketed products and the CPG market.

 


2021 Research Questions

To conduct the research, CSB analyzed data from across 36 product categories, representing approximately 40% of total CPG sales, excluding tobacco and alcohol. Click on the research questions below for data findings.

Consumer Purchasing Insights From the 2022 Practice Forum

Watch CSB's Randi Kronthal-Sacco present findings from the 2021 Sustainable Market Share Index™ study and discuss insights with Craig Dubitsky, Chief Innovation Strategist at Colgate-Palmolive and Chris Coulter, CEO of GlobeScan

Watch the video

Sustainable Market Share Index™ Reports

SMSI 2018

2019 Sustainable Market Share Index™ Report

In the inaugural Sustainable Market Share Index Report, a five-year dataset representing CPG purchasing from 2013-2018 was analyzed to benchmark the following: 

  • Have purchases of sustainable products increased over time?
  • Are there specific product categories for which the purchases of more sustainable product options out- or underperform less sustainable alternatives?

View the 2019 Report
SMSI 2020

2020 Sustainable Market Share Index™ Report

The 2020 Sustainbale Market Share Index™ Report features an update to market share and category analysis, as well as expanded research to identify the following:

  • Have sustainable purchases been impacted by COVID-19?
  • Are green chemistry products outperforming conventional formulations?
  • What is the impact of price on purchases of sustainable products?
  • What is the demographic profile of the sustainable purchaser?

View the 2020 Report
SMSI 2021

2021 Sustainable Market Share Index™ Report

The 2021 Sustainable Market Share Index Report revisits all previous research questions with updated 2021 data, and new analysis to answer the following additional questions:

  • How important has sustainability become in new product development?
  • What is the impact of product availability on share?

View the 2021 Report

Publications & Press