Consumers are willing to pay more for a variety of products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable -- better known as "green," according to a Burst Media study.
The survey revealed that 90% of respondents have incorporated some level of greenness into their daily lives -- 8.8% are completely green, while most are aspirationally green. To help lead green lives, respondents cite the Internet as the best source of information on green products and practices.
The trend of green consumers turning to the Internet poses an "incredible" opportunity for marketers, says Chuck Moran, chief marketing officer for Burlington, Mass.-based Burst Media.
"Green consumers -- in varying shades -- abound on the Internet," Moran tells Marketing Daily. "Advertisers who are marketing 'green' products online should recognize that the concept of 'green' cannot be communicated to consumers with a single concept, as it means very different things for different people.
"As marketers approach the Web with their green messaging, it is important to recognize that consumers have varying messaging cues that need to be addressed. Avoid confusion and be sure your messaging is clear and direct. Lastly, make use of the interactive nature of the Web with creative executions and rich media that users can interact with to gather more information about green products."
Administered in late December to more than 1,500 adults, the survey revealed that people are willing to pay a premium for products they know are made out of green or environmentally friendly, organic materials. Not surprisingly, aspirationally green and 100% green consumers are the most willing to pay a premium.
The aspirationally green consumers are most willing to pay a premium for food and household products they know to be earth-friendly, including produce (66.6%), juices and other bottled drinks (61.1%), household cleaners (59.2%), laundry detergents (58.7%), and packaged food (58.2%). Meanwhile, among the 100% green respondents, over 80% are willing to pay a premium for all product categories, including food, garden/landscaping supplies (84.4%), home improvement supplies (84.0%), bedding (83.3%), and health and beauty products (82.0%).
More than one-third (39.4%) of respondents turn to the Web for information on green products and practices, followed by TV (18.4%), friends and family (9.2%), newspapers (7.1%), magazines (6.5%) and books (4.6%). While men search for information on alternative energy and green technologies, women look for healthy recipes, recycling, simple living, and natural remedies.
More than half (56.6%) of all respondents believe that to some extent, advertising claims that promote a product as environmentally friendly. However, 25% do not believe the claims -- or find them confusing or misleading -- and only 10% say they never believe green claims made in an advertisement. Two-thirds (67.5%) of aspirationally green respondents believe green claims in advertising, compared to 58.2% of "completely green" respondents, and 32.3% of respondents who are not green at all.
Women in all key age segments are more likely than men to purchase a product that is advertised as environmentally friendly. However, men still lead women in being completely green -- 12.1% versus 5.3%, respectively.
The study reveals a distinct difference in the motivation to go green between those who are aspirational and those self-identified as 100% green. While aspirational greens clearly point to working for a better environment (61.3%) as the reason for incorporating green behaviors into their daily lives, only 38.1% of 100% greens point to this cause. Among respondents who are completely green, reasons include "to live a better quality of life" (36.6%), good for the community (35.4%), desire to make a difference (32.9%), and to set an example for others to follow (31.5%). Among this segment, being green identifies a lifestyle rather than personal activity.