Survey: Consumers to Double Spending on Green Products, Services

Findings from the 2007 ImagePower® Green Brands Survey, conducted by WPP Group plc's Landor Associates, Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB) Associates and Cohn & Wolfe (C&W), were released on Sept. 27 at the Sustainable Brands '07 conference, produced by Sustainable Life Media, in New Orleans. Following a survey conducted in April 2007, the updated Green Brands 2.5 research found that consumers expect to double their spending on green products and services in the next year, totaling an estimated $500 billion annually or $43 billion per month.

"This wave of research very clearly indicates an up tick in purchase intent for most consumers when it comes to green products and services, particularly those that are relatively simple to implement such as installing environmentally friendly lighting and upgrading to energy-saving appliances," said Tom Agan, managing director of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates.

The research also indicated that despite bipartisan sentiments on politics and religion, 90 percent of Americans agree that there are important green issues and problems, and 82 percent believe it is important for companies to implement environmentally friendly practices.

Conducted by PSB's Internet Surveys Groups (ISG), the survey also found that consumer perceptions of green continue to change according to various collective definitions and contribute directly to buying decisions. In early research, for example, consumers indicated a close association of the color green with environmentally friendly products. As products and awareness have increased in sophistication, perceptions have steadily shifted to equating green to saving money and caring for self and society in 2006. The Green Brands Survey finds that consumers perceive green as a direct and positive reflection of their social status, in addition to recognizing its broader value to society and the world.

"Mainstream consumers can now join celebrities in supporting good causes," said Russ Meyer, chief strategy officer of Landor Associates. "As issues continue to arise around the world, so do positive perceptions of the people who support those issues. With every cause there is opportunity to gain support through a green-savvy consumer population."

Extending the work released earlier this year that defined five "green attitudes," ranging from "Bright Green" to "Dull Green," the survey's findings highlight the political and emotional state of each group. Dull Green respondents, for example, who are characterized by making a minimum effort to support environmental change, prioritize crime reduction, religious organizations and healthcare as their main causes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the majority of Bright Green respondents, or those who are doing everything they can to make a long-term impact on their environment, care most about the environment, animal rights and education. One in five Dull Greens is satisfied with the current state of the environment, while, Bright Greens remain sad and skeptical about the future outlook and one in three even feel anger about the situation.

"The value of examining the everyday lives and activities, as well as the emotions, of our green groups is that we can then adapt and refine the way in which we communicate with them to maximize relevant messages," said Annie Longsworth, EVP and managing cirector of Cohn & Wolfe San Francisco. "What resonates with Bright Green people is very different from what rings true for Dull Greens, which presents some really exciting marketing challenges and opportunities."

Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates Inc. conducted 803 interviews on the Internet among U.S. general population from Sept. 7-9, 2007. Respondents were screened to meet the following criteria: Age 18 or over. Gender, age, and region were weighted based on US census information.

Landor Associates:

Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates:

Cohn & Wolfe:

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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