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Do Consumers Care About Buying Green?

July 18th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

How much do consumers care about environmentally friendly products or services? While some shoppers are passionate about the issue, a new Ipsos poll conducted with discount site RetailMeNot.com shows many more are lukewarm.

Just 5 percent of respondents to the survey say they “always” take steps to green their home or lifestyle, such as recycling, driving energy-efficient vehicles or using eco-friendly products.  However, an additional 60 percent “sometimes” take these actions; just 15 percent “never” do.

Asked about purchasing habits, responses were similar. Only 3 percent are committed to always buying eco-friendly products, and just 6 percent never buy them. Forty percent say they buy green products when they are readily available and there is no big cost difference. Fifty-one percent buy whichever products suit their needs at the time, whether or not it’s green.

Whether or not a product is green seems to make some difference in purchasing. Nearly half (46 percent) say they are more likely to buy a product if it is environmentally friendly; 34 percent say it doesn’t make a difference. Price is still a sticking point, with 59 percent saying they aren’t willing to pay a higher price for green products or services, while 41 percent are willing to pay “a little more” for them.

Good news for the planet: More than half (57 percent) of respondents say they think about the environmental impact of products when making everyday purchases. Still, there is a knowledge gap, with 29 percent of respondents admitting they aren’t sure of the environmental impact of the products they purchase every day.

Even if the products you sell aren’t green, contributing to environmental charities could help boost your sales. More than half (54 percent) of respondents say they would be more likely or might be more likely to shop at retail stores that support environmental charities. Adults under 35 were the most likely to shop with retailers that support environmental charities.

Overall, college graduates, residents of the Northeast and young adults were the strongest supporters of buying green. If your business targets these markets, a green message is more likely to have an impact on your sales. But be sure your product information, website and packaging are clear about the benefits of your product, and that you’re honest and forthright in explaining why it’s green.

Image by Flickr user andyarthur (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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