The HCHLV Green Consumer Segmentation was just recognized by its parent company, WPP marketing communication giant, as one of the best pieces of work in the area of ‘Market Research and Insights’. Although developed for the British market, this segmentation provides yet another valuable way to look at consumers/citizens.
At the disengaged end of the spectrum, over a quarter of UK adults are ‘Onlookers’ – those who are the least engaged and have a limited level of concern about ethical and environmental issues.
Moving along the spectrum, the ‘Conveniently Conscious’ make up over a third of UK adults. This group is aware of and fairly concerned about ethical and environmental issues. They will take easier steps such as reducing their water use, but are not interested in more involved ethical consumption or local issues.
The ‘Positive Choosers’ are highly aware of ethical and environmental issues and feel guilty about their lifestyle. They regularly buy from ethically sound companies and will boycott those they feel are not acting responsibly. However, they will rarely complain actively, choosing instead to walk away from companies they disapprove of.
There is a small segment of the population, the ‘Vocal Activists’, who hold similar attitudes to the ‘Positive Choosers’, with the exception that they are much more likely to articulate their discontent.
The most engaged segment is the ‘Principled Pioneers’. These consumers are more prepared to make significant investments of time, energy and money, alongside lifestyle changes, to turn their beliefs into actions. This includes highly engaged activities such as installing alternative energy sources and calculating their carbon footprints.
This way of segmenting consumers/citizens is remarkably consistent with the most recent Pew Survey of Americans. Basically, slightly less than half of the population is positively inclined regarding environmental issues that really matter. A glass nearly half full, that’s a start. Communication efforts should focus on nudging some of the ‘Conveniently Conscious‘ more towards the left.