Study: Parents Choose Children over Environment

It seems reasonable to assume that American families actively support "green" initiatives in their consumer habits, but a recent study shows that American parents have other things on their minds.

In its first PersonicX® Consumer Dynamics study, Acxiom of Little Rock, Ark., found a meaningful pattern in middle-class American households: Children were significantly less likely to be present in "green" households. The highest environmentally indexing clusters fall into two general groups, those who are younger, still single, and looking for something to take care of ("Greenhorns"), and those who are more senior, still married or now single, and looking for something to take care of ("Greener Pastures").

When compared to the national population, Greenhorns are more than 60 percent more likely to purchase automobiles that reflect their support of the environment. Greener Pastures are more than 40 percent more likely to pay more and give up convenience to purchase products that are environmentally friendly. Though they may come from a variety of incomes, net worth, and areas of population density, these groups undoubtedly share a heightened concern for the environment, as well as the time to act on that concern.

This PersonicX Consumer Dynamics study indicates that many parents direct their efforts to saving time and money -- over the environment -- while raising children, demonstrating a need for more convenient, less expensive ways to go green.

"As a father, I understand that parents have their hands full every day just making sure their kids eat well and act right. They care about the environment, but it is difficult to focus on green initiatives when their attention is taken by the here and now," said Louis Rolleigh, product leader of PersonicX. "But it may also be true that companies that produce convenient, cost-effective environmentally friendly products aren't getting their messages through to decision makers in these households."

Greenhorns are typically 24 to 45, have no children in the home, are renters with some homeowners mixed in, are low-middle to upper-middle class, and live in cities and city surroundings. Greener Pastures are over the age of 66, and they may be married or single, but -- again -- have no children in the home. They are mostly homeowners with some renters, and again span the middle class ranks, while living in rural areas as well as cities and surrounding suburbs and towns.

"This finding is provocative," said Rolleigh, "because it shows us that you don't have to be free of financial concerns to choose environmentally conscious behaviors. Greenhorns and Greener Pastures span the income level of what we call 'middle class,' but they are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products and services. And they may be more 'urbane' and live in cities, but they may also be people in remote or less populated regions of our country."

PersonicX is a segmentation system that clusters households into 70 distinct categories and 21 life-stage groups based on various characteristics. When analyzing the PersonicX clusters, Acxiom researchers found there were distinct PersonicX clusters that demonstrated green tendencies in the Greenhorn group.

Acxiom makes information intelligent for many of the world's leading and most dynamic companies, enabling them to acquire new customers, retain their most valuable customers, communicate with customers in the methods and times they prefer, and make profitable marketing and business decisions.

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