In new research issued by Gfk MRI, people’s interest in making small sacrifices for environmentally responsible products continues to slip away. No doubt the punishing impact of the recession and stagnant employment market have forced many consumers to make a Sophie’s Choice over green products. But the research further underscores the lack of inspiration that marketers have been able to generate for sustainable brands.
Data from the last five years reports that consumers are now less likely to give up convenience or pay more for green products.
- The percentage of adults who report “I am willing to pay more for a product that is environmentally safe” declined 13%, from 60% to 52%, in the last five years.
- The percentage of U.S. adults who agreed with the statement “I am willing to give up convenience in return for a product that is environmentally safe” declined 16% in the past five years, from 56% in 2007 to 47% in 2011.
Only Millennials (people aged 18-24) are the only adult age group whose willingness to give up convenience or pay more for green products has held steady over the past five years. In addition, 53% of consumers aged 18-24 recycle products and 4% participated in environmental groups/causes in the past 12 months. At least there is some hope from this audience of young adults to accept responsibility for sustainable behavior moving forward.
The top three environmentally friendly products purchased by U.S. adults are light bulbs (18%), paper towels (12%) and laundry detergent (11%). Big deal.
As more and more leading global companies invest in sustainable strategies and are adopting practices with long-term environmental health in mind, it is incumbent on marketers in those organizations to create consumer awareness, appreciation and adoption of these strategies. This data suggests we are falling behind instead of moving forward.