Consumers’ Desire for Green Products Remains Strong and Drives Brand Loyalty

Green products, and the desire for them, haven’t gone away and are still a driving force today for brand loyalty and customer engagement.

More than half of consumers in the U.S. are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products, according to a new study from GfK MRI. More than 25,000 study respondents said they would sacrifice convenience to buy “green” products.

Here are some more of the eye-opening findings from GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer:

  • Those who say they care about the environment are more likely to buy environmentally responsible products
  • Seven in 10 consumers say they consider global warming a threat
  • At a time when U.S. environmental policy is under increased scrutiny, more than half (56 percent) of consumers here still say they are willing to pay more to use environment-friendly (green) products–an uptick of three percentage points from the 2010 level (53 percent).
  • Half of adults say (agree “somewhat” or “mostly”) that they are willing to give up convenience in return for a product that is environmentally safe–an increase of three points from 2010 (47 percent).
  • Consumer interest in a company’s green scorecard has held steady in recent years. According to the latest GfK MRI research, 49 percent agree at least partly with the statement, “A company’s environmental record is important to me in my purchasing decisions.” That represents a one-point increase versus 2010 (48 percent).
  • GfK MRI’s studies show that almost seven in 10 (69 percent) U.S. consumers agree “somewhat” or “completely” with the statement, “Global warming is a serious threat,” a jump of five points from the 2010 level (64 percent).
  • But GfK MRI also shows that usage of some of the top environmentally friendly household items–including green light bulbs, all-purpose cleaners, and facial tissues–has been flat or even fallen since 2010.
Catherine Saraniti, senior vice president of GfK MRI, told Loyalty360 that the study findings show that “people’s willingness to use environmentally safe products overall has grown in importance across a variety of groups, including gender, age, and income.”

The biggest surprise from the study?

“I was surprised to see that the sixty-five-plus age group was most likely to say they would be fine with paying more or being inconvenienced to support environmentally safe products,” Saraniti explained. “In a way, this brings the idea back full circle because of this same generation, in many ways, started the environmental trend in the 1960s.”

Saraniti offered her thoughts about how loyalty marketers can leverage this study data to gain greater customer engagement.

“The most important consideration here is authenticity,” she said. “Claiming to be green, and then having consumers find out that you really are not, is possibly the biggest mistake companies can make in this area. According to our data, nearly 50 percent of respondents say that a company’s environmental record is important. This hasn’t changed in the past five years, so there is clearly a large group of U.S. consumers who consistently feel this should be a priority. I think the most important finding is that this issue has not died down. The desire for products and companies to be green remains strong and that is something companies need to pay attention to.”

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