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Eco Pulse™ 2013

Eco Pulse™ is Shelton Group’s annual consumer green affinity study, tracking purchases, behaviors and attitudes related to sustainability. Eco Pulse creates a clear, robust picture of your target consumers – including which product features actually get them to pull out their wallets – so you can develop marketing strategies that speak their language.

Study OverviewMethodologyExecutive SummaryPress Release

Eco Pulse: Connecting the dots between today’s best consumers and your best brand story.

Are you ready to be enlightened and empowered?

Shelton Group’s sixth annual Eco Pulse™ study goes deep into the hearts and minds of consumers to reveal their true perceptions and purchasing actions related to sustainability in a range of categories – including food, skin care, home improvement products, utilities and others.

We asked specific questions. We asked subtle questions. And we got answers. The resulting 380 pages add up to a clearer, more well-rounded picture of consumers today. A picture that can help you develop successful strategies for all your sustainability efforts.

Sneak a peek. Download your free executive summary by clicking on the tab above.

What’s going on in there?
Get inside the heads of green consumers with us. The Eco Pulse study unveils some fascinating intel:

  • Who’s the most profitable, loyal, influential target audience out there? We call them Brand Huggers. We share why they aren’t just the Tree Huggers you think they are – and why that’s good news for your brand.
  • Your sustainability story is the most vital marketing tool you’ve got.
  • Collaborative consumption and reuse have some surprising barriers, but the study reveals ways you can still make strides toward these important initiatives.

Plus, find out:

  • If organizing green products into a special store section actually facilitates or limits sales
  • The three biggest things companies should be doing to positively impact consumer purchase choices
  • Whether consumers realize what products affect their homes’ indoor air quality
  • Which emerging concerns about GMOs and other product-content issues may affect you

Sample pages. Peruse a few pages of the report, then download your complete copy.
Eco Pulse 2013 – Page 20    Eco Pulse 2013 – Page 45

Invigorate your sustainability efforts. Eco Pulse 2013 offers valuable insider knowledge and trends that can keep your brand ahead of the curve. Now’s your chance to:

  • Identify opportunities for capturing consumer loyalty
  • Understand which drivers and messaging resonate best
  • Create a competitive advantage for your brand

Eco Pulse is a quantitative survey containing a mix of fixed-response alternative and Likert scale questions. The survey was fielded via the Internet from March 18–24, 2013. Shelton Group utilized SSI’s online community for sampling. The survey was geographically stratified to mirror the regional population distribution of U.S. residents age 18 and older (227,301,996). Survey sample data were weighted slightly to match U.S. age, education, gender and ethnicity. The survey yielded 1,032 complete responses, for a 95% confidence level and a confidence interval of +/- 3.05% (margin of error).

Download your sneak peek now.

Martha Wampler

Goodbye Tree Huggers, Hello Brand Huggers
Shelton Group’s latest study shows that the “greenest” consumers aren’t what you think they are
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., June 26, 2013 – Shelton Group, the nation’s leading marketing communications firm entirely focused in the sustainability and energy efficiency sectors, announced today the release of its sixth annual Eco Pulse™ study. The findings about America’s “greenest” consumer segment might surprise you.

“Our findings from this study show that we can’t think of Americans who buy green products or gravitate towards green companies as ‘green consumers.’ They are actually the most desirable target audience for any company – and they happen to be purchasing greener products from greener companies,” said Suzanne Shelton, founder and CEO of Shelton Group. “They make up 24 percent of Americans, are affluent early adopters and the most brand-loyal segment. They’re willing to pay more for a brand they trust, they shop frequently, and they like having shiny new ‘green’ things.”

Shelton calls this group “Actives,” and they are values-driven shoppers. Through their purchases they are creating an outward extension of their internal values. And these values most strongly align with protecting the environment, helping others, social justice and equality. Actives also like certifications and expect manufacturers to address all of their concerns – not just about what’s in the product, but also about how it’s made and its life cycle impact. Their brand loyalty is born out of connecting the dots from their values to brands and companies that align with these values and offer a sense of community and meaning.

“As the economy improves, more Americans have the luxury of worrying about the environment again,” said Lee Ann Head, VP of Research and Insights at Shelton Group. “These findings will help companies align their marketing activities and product designs with things this powerful group of consumers cares about the most. And, depending on your target audience, it may be time to add an environmental driver to your messaging mix.”

The latest Eco Pulse findings also show that Americans, because of economic recovery, seem to be re-prioritizing the environment and green buying. The study explores how Americans buy green products and their perceptions of corporate social responsibility initiatives, along with emerging issues like water conservation, reuse and alternative ownership/collaborative consumption. Specifically, the study shows:

• A sustained increase in agreement with the statement, “Global warming, or climate change, is occurring and is primarily caused by human activity,” with 58 percent (compared to 48 percent in 2010) agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement.
• Water is an emerging issue due to decreasing availability and looming price increases that will come with long-delayed infrastructure improvements. Yet Americans are still slow to adopt water-conserving behaviors.
• Corporate reputation continues to increase in importance in purchase decisions, and both a reputation for making green products and a solid environmental reputation can have an impact at shelf.
• Consumers care both about how products are made and about the content of the products they buy. For example, there’s increasing concern about chemical content in a variety of non-food products.
• Only about a quarter of Americans most often buy used and/or repair items rather than buying new items. Nine percent said they barter or swap rather than buy through local networks or online, and only 5 percent participate in a borrowing membership rather than buying.


Shelton Group is the nation’s leading marketing communications agency entirely focused in the energy efficiency and sustainability space. The Knoxville, Tennessee-based firm works with many of America’s leading utility, building products and consumer goods companies to develop differentiated communications campaigns to leverage their sustainability stories for a market advantage. That campaign work is informed by insights and perspectives extracted from Shelton’s quarterly polling of American attitudes and behaviors about energy efficiency and sustainability. For more information about Shelton Group, visit www.sheltongrp.com.

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