Consumer Greening Just Starting to Sprout, Study Says

"The media coverage around the green issue creates an impression that there has been a sea change in consumer awareness and behavior," says Teri Wadsworth, consumer psychologist at dig, an independent consumer insights firm. "But we found that consumers have only begun to make changes. People learn new things, and react to them as consumers, every day."

Dig's new documentary film and white paper explores consumer reaction to the green movement, including the impact a troubled economy may have on purchase behavior.

"The Consumer Reaction to the Green Movement" is the result of in-depth interviews and observation studies of consumers and their immediate "influencers." Dig found that consumers have three distinct emotional reactions to the green movement, which determine how they make purchase decisions.

The film details actionable implications for marketers who are looking to "green" their product development and marketing efforts. A white paper detailing opportunities for each group and a shorter meeting film are also available.

Leading marketers are adjusting lineups to meet the perceived demand for green products and services. But in the majority of U.S. households, economic (not environmental) climate change is seen as the most pressing issue. What was shaping up to be a sustained green "explosion" is now seen more realistically as an ongoing expansion.

"It might seem that the economic downturn will stymie the green movement," says Wadsworth, "but there is a surprising amount of overlap between green behavior and frugal behavior. Smart brands will continue to grow if they stay relevant to their consumers."

The proprietary research identifies three distinct consumer segments -- each with varying degrees of receptiveness to green products and messaging. It also shows that external forces -- such as the economy -- impact each segment's behavior to varying degrees. The three consumer segments also have distinct purchase motivations and triggers.

Wadsworth says: "The driving force behind this movement is what consumers see as threats to themselves, their families, and their environment. Those reactions may be muted, those purchases may be delayed, but they won't disappear."

The films and white paper are available for purchase. Visit