Report Reveals That Higher Costs of Eco-Friendly Products Turn Off Consumers from “Being Green”

It’s gotten a lot harder to be “green.” revealed in this Earth Day–inspired edition of the Shoppers Trend Report that while 46% of respondents are more inclined to buy a product if it is eco-friendly, the majority of respondents (59%) are unwilling to pay more money for that eco-friendly product or service. This Shoppers Trend Report includes data from a survey jointly conducted with Ipsos Public Affairs.

The RetailMeNot–Ipsos survey found:

The current state of eco-friendly shopping

  • A majority of respondents (71%) feel that they are aware of the positive and/or adverse environmental impact of products they purchase every day. Still, more than four in 10 respondents (43%) report that when they actually make purchases, they do not think about the impact that those products have on the environment.
  • Fortunately for Mother Nature, 60% of respondents report that they sometimes proactively take steps to “green” their home or lifestyle, such as by recycling, driving energy-efficient vehicles, weatherizing their home, using eco-friendly products, etc. Just 25% of respondents say they always take steps to “green” their home or lifestyle, while 15% of respondents say they never do.
  • Nearly half of the respondents (46%) say they are more inclined to buy a product if it is eco-friendly, however a majority of respondents (59%) said they would be unwilling to pay a higher price for an eco-friendly product or service over one that is not eco-friendly.
  • More than a third of respondents (34%) say that it makes no difference to them if a product is eco-friendly.

What drives eco-friendly purchases?

  • When it comes to purchasing habits, 40% of respondents say they buy green, eco-friendly products when they are readily available and there is no big cost difference versus non-eco-friendly equivalents. Yet a majority of respondents (51%) report that they buy whichever products suit their needs at the time, “green” or not.
  • Retailer support for environmental charities does not appear to be a significant driver of purchases. Only 15% of respondents said support for environmental charities would lead them to be more likely to shop with a retailer vs. 39% of respondents who said “maybe” and 24% who said no, it was not something that would influence where they shop.
  • Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) said that they don’t care about what charities or causes a business supports, so it wouldn’t have an impact on where they shop.
  • It appears that 18 to 34-year-old respondents are more swayed by “green” cause marketing (23% vs. only 11% of 35 to 54 year olds). Also, non-white respondents were more likely to say they would be persuaded to buy based on retailer support for a “green” charity (24% vs. 14% of white respondents).

Who is shopping “green” the most?

  • Men vs. Women: Women are more likely than men to buy green products if it is convenient and the price point is right (45% vs. 36%).
  • Other leaders in being “green”: Additionally, college graduates (55%), Northeasterners (54%), adults under 35 (53%) and households with children (50%) are more inclined to buy environmentally- friendly products and to pay more for them.
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