Green consumers are humans who factor in ecological concerns while buying products.

Beyond this simple definition, very little is understood about green consumers. (Despite decades of research.)

Ogilvy and Mather divides green customers into 4 types: Activists, Realists, Complacents, and Alienated. Activists are the most likely to buy green brands, alienated are the least likely, and the other two fall in the middle.

Roper Starch Worldwide, a consumer research firm, has more colourful categories that range from True Blue Greens to Basic Browns.

However, too many categories are a sign of unfocused thinking. I have a much simpler system: it involves just two 4 letter words.

Woke and Rich.

Woke = People who care about the environment

Rich = People who can pay extra if a brand provides value beyond the price tag.

Green brands spend most of their resources targeting people who are both. (Top left Quadrant, Picture 1)

The other three quadrants are where the opportunity lies.

Picture 1


The woke-but-not-rich will buy green brands when they are more affordable or more convenient. (Top Right Quadrant, Picture 2)

The rich-but-not-woke will buy green brands when they become luxurious or “upscale” in some way. (Bottom Left Quadrant, Picture 2)

The not-rich-not-woke probably aren’t aware of many green brands and won’t pay more when cheaper products in the same category are easily available. (Bottom Right Quadrant, Picture 2)

Picture 2

The Bottom Left Quadrant is the hardest to win over for green brands - but it’s also the largest group. Most people are not rich enough to be indifferent towards the price tag, or woke enough to pay a “green premium” on a regular basis.  

Green brands that are stuck in the top left quadrant can profit from expanding to one or two of the other quadrants.

No brand can expand to all 3 other quadrants as you cannot simultaneously sell to people who want your products to be more affordable (Top Right Quadrant, Pic 3) and people who want your products to be posher (Bottom Left Quadrant, Picture 3)

Picture 3

Stay tuned for more.