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Green Product Pricing Still an Obstacle to Deeper Adoption, According to Study
August 16, 2012
Purchases of environmentally protective products have grown significantly in two of the world’s leading markets – China and Brazil - but the widespread perception that these products are too expensive may be blocking deeper adoption.
These are two key findings from new Green Gauge Global research just released by GfK. Now in its third year, the study incorporates interviews with more than 35,000 consumers in 25 markets about their environmental attitudes and behaviors.
According to the new research, the proportions of consumers who factor environmental protection into their purchase decisions grew six percentage points in China and five points in Brazil, compared to 2011. Mexico and South Africa also recorded significant increases in the past year.
Yet 6 in 10 consumers globally feel that environmentally friendly product alternatives are too expensive – roughly the same proportion found in 2011. In fact, this sentiment is on the rise in some of the same nations where green buying increased – such as China (up 5 percentage points) and South Africa (up 7 points).
“On a global basis, it seems as if buying green leads naturally to concerns that one is paying too much,” said Timothy Kenyon, director of the GfK Green Gauge Global study. “Knowing this, green-friendly companies entering new markets should be attuned to price concerns from the start – pricing products competitively to win loyal customers. Our research suggests that, with careful marketing, growth in the green market will sustain in key countries for years to come.”
Green Gauge Global also tracks consumer segments defined by environment-related beliefs and behaviors. “Glamour Greens,” who have an average level of environmental concern but see a green lifestyle as a status indicator, now amount to 30 percent of consumers globally. The “Jaded” segment – skeptics who feel green issues are less important – grew by 2 points globally since last year, now representing 23 percent of all consumers.
Other key segments tracked in GGG research include “Green inDeeds” – people who show the highest concern for the environment and are the most likely to take it into account when buying products – and “Carbon Cultured,” who have higher environmental awareness but can lag in their behaviors. Lastly are the “Green in Need” – people have the desire, but lack the tools and know-how, to be more green.
The markets covered by Green Gauge Global are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, and the USA.
A global analysis released last month by the National Geographic Society found a puzzling disconnect between consumer perception and sustainable behavior, which seems to be linked to how people in emerging markets and developed nations experience environmental challenges. Jacquelyn A. Ottman, founder and principal of J. Ottman Consulting, Inc., says marketers need to change the way they view the green consumer market and ask different questions to reveal more accurate data with consumer polls.
Bart King is a PR/marketing communications consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.