CSB Sustainable Market Share Index™

NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business and IRI Launch New Sustainable Market Share Index™
In March 2019, the NYU Stern School of Business Center for Sustainable Business and IRI® released the findings of a new U.S.-based study and established the Sustainable Market Share Index™, an in-depth analysis of consumer purchases of products that are marketed for their sustainable attributes.

The research finds that sustainability-marketed products are responsible for more than half of the growth in consumer packaged goods (CPGs) since 2013.

To view the full 2019 CSB Sustainable Market Share Index™ report, click here.

To read the March 2020 article in Hapres Journal of Sustainability Research, click here.

About the Study
Today more than ever, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are responding to changing generational expectations, including of more sustainable product offerings, yet the understanding of consumer purchasing trends is limited. The CSB Sustainable Market Share Index™ research team sought to discover (A) how purchases of sustainable products have changed over time and (B) how these trends might play out among different CPG product categories.

To conduct the research, CSB partnered with IRI, which contributed its comprehensive point-of-sale data on U.S. consumer purchases. CSB  analyzed data from across 36 product categories, representing approximately 40% of total CPG sales, excluding tobacco and alcohol.

CSB IRI Sustainable Share Index Research Questions

The research conducted by CSB found that sustainability-marketed products delivered 50.1% of market growth from 2013-2018 while representing 16.6% of the CPG market in dollar sales in 2018.

“Across industries, companies are beginning to recognize that sustainable business is good business,” said Tensie Whelan, professor at NYU Stern and founding director of CSB. “Results from this research reinforce the idea that embracing sustainability leads to better business results. We are excited to launch the Sustainable Market Share Index and look forward to continuing our research in the years to come.”

CSB IRI Sustainable Share Index Chart

Additional Findings
  • Across all categories, sustainability-marketed products delivered $113.9B in sales in 2018; +29% vs. 2013 and are expected to grow to $140.5B by 2023, based on an extrapolation of the analysis.
  • Products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6x faster than conventionally-marketed products, and 3.3x faster than the CPG market.
  • In over 90% of individual product categories examined, the growth of sustainability-marketed products outpaced total category growth.
  • Sustainability-marketed products account for 16.6% share of market ($) in 2018, up from 14.3% in 2013.
  • Sustainable products have more than 20% category share in many food categories, including cheese, salty snacks, and coffee.

“CPG companies should take notice—the benefits of sustainability cannot be ignored,” said Randi Kronthal-Sacco, Senior Scholar, Marketing and Corporate Outreach, Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business, who led the research initiative. “In fact, this groundbreaking research shows the significant impact that sustainable products have on overall category growth.”

"IRI is pleased to partner with NYU Stern's Center for Sustainable Business on this eye-opening study, and we're delighted to reveal the results publicly at this year’s IRI Growth Summit in Denver, where over 1,500 CPG and retail leaders will convene," said Robert I. Tomei, president, Market and Shopper Intelligence at IRI. "The results of this research show that sustainable products play a key role in consumer decision-making and we know this is particularly important to Millennials and GenXers.”

Please contact Randi Kronthal-Sacco, Senior Scholar, Marketing and Corporate Outreach at rkrontha@stern.nyu.edu with any comments or questions.

More on the study
2019 CSB Sustainable Market Share Index™ (full report).
Business Wire: Press Release - March 2019
Harvard Business Review: Actually, Consumers Do Buy Sustainable Products - June 2019
Article in Hapres Journal of Sustainability Research - March 2020

More from CSB
The ROSI Methodology: Making The Business Case For Sustainability. The CSB Return on Sustainability Investment (ROSI) methodology identifies sustainability drivers of financial performance and competitive advantage and monetizes the benefits of sustainable practices. It can be used by any type or size of business as well as investors to better understand the ROI on sustainability and improve decision-making.