“Green” Customers Extremely Loyal to Brands

“Green” customers are affluent, early adopters, and extremely brand loyal according to the Shelton Group’s sixth annual Eco Pulse study.

According to the study, the “greenest” customers comprise 24% of Americans.

Shelton Group CEO Suzanne Shelton said in the study report that “green” customers are the “most desirable target audience for any company.” They buy “green” products from “green” companies, she added, and they pay more for a brand they trust, they shop frequently and they like “shiny new ‘green’ things.’’’

The study refers to this group as the “Actives” -- they are values-driven shoppers who create an outward extension of their internal values. And these values most strongly align with protecting the environment, helping others, social justice, and equality.

Actives also like certifications and expect manufacturers to address all of their concerns — not just about what’s in the product, but also about how it’s made and its lifecycle impact. Their brand loyalty is derived from values to brands and companies that align with the same values and offer a sense of community and meaning.

What’s more, the Eco Pulse study shows that Americans seem to be re-prioritizing the environment and green purchasing. These findings can help companies align their marketing activities with this group of consumers’ concerns, according to Lee Ann Head, VP of research and insights at Shelton Group.

The study also shows:

A sustained increase in agreement with the statement: “Global warming, or climate change, is occurring and is primarily caused by human activity,” as 58% agree or strongly agree with the statement.

Corporate reputation is gaining importance in purchase decisions, and both a reputation for making green products and a solid environmental reputation can have an impact on customers.

Consumers care both about how products are made and about the content of the products they buy. For example, consumers are more concerned now about chemical content in a variety of non-food products.

Only about a quarter of Americans most often buy used and/or repair items rather than buying new items – 9% said they barter or swap, rather than buy through local networks or online, and only 5% participate in a borrowing membership rather than buying.

Eight out of 10 Americans don’t believe companies are addressing all of their environmental impacts, and only 44 percent trust companies’ green claims, according to research conducted by Cone Communications published in March.

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