Our 2009 Eco Pulse study will be released on Monday and, among other things, it answers the question, “Will consumers still spend money on green products in this economy?” It also explains why.
So the first answer is, yes, they will. 60% of the population, in fact, says they’re seeking out green products and 66% say they’re either spending more or as much on green products as they were before the economy tanked. Only 13% say they have curtailed their spending.
Now, there are a lot more details to this story. For starters, Eco Pulse sheds light on the fact that green is one of many factors consumers consider in the product choice process and, depending on the product category, it could be the first thing they look for or the fifth thing they look for. Eco Pulse also makes clear that there’s not one big pot of Green People who Always Buy Green. Just as green falls in different places on the priority list by product category, the consumer who ranks it as an important factor changes by product category.
But, suffice it to say, folks are more interested in buying green than ever before across the board.
Which begs the question, “Why?” Our Energy Pulse® and Utility Pulse studies clearly show that consumers are motivated to buy energy conserving products by a desire to save money. That flies in the face of green product purchases, most of which are more expensive than non-green options.
Even though consumers kind of lump energy efficiency and green into the same bucket in their minds (in focus groups, for example, energy efficient activities are typically the first examples consumers cite when we ask them about their green behaviors), they’re really two separate issues. Consumers are driven to buy EE products out of a belief/hope/need to gain control, gain peace of mind and feel safe and secure. Eco Pulse reveals that consumers buy green products out of a desire to improve and/or secure their families’ health. In other words, where they can, they are intentionally steering away from products that they believe have harmful toxins/chemicals in them and are intentionally seeking out those that don’t.
Protecting your family’s well being – their very lives – is a huge motivator in any economy. But in this economy it might even be more of a driver. Health care is expensive, so it’s better to avoid problems to begin with. And, particularly for Moms, consumers may not be able to do everything they’d like for their families right now, but they can do something to keep them safe and healthy.
Positioned that way, green is a very powerful differentiator to hang one’s hat on.