Study: Energy Savings is Key for Green Electronics

GreenFactor, an ongoing global technology and environmental research initiative, finds that consumers are getting more savvy about green and are demanding that electronics brands provide more clear information about their products' energy savings, as well as sustainable materials, and shipping and production methods. The GreenFactor survey was conducted by Strategic Oxygen and Cohn & Wolfe during Sept. and Oct. 2008.

The primary findings of the survey of more than 10,000 adults in 12 major markets around the world include:

• "Saving energy" ranks first in importance to U.S. consumers considering green electronics (54 percent); "design" (5 percent) is near the bottom of the list of attributes and "image" (4 percent) is dead last.

• The No. 1 barrier to green sales of consumer electronics in the U.S. is "lack of awareness" (53 percent) – that is, brands are not adequately educating consumers on the energy savings and other environmentally friendly aspects of their products. The No. 2 barrier to purchase is "price" (45 percent).

• Consumers say they rely heavily on information on a product's "packaging" (33 percent), a "brand's Web site" (32 percent), and "independent brand comments online" (28 percent) rather than seeking green product input from "friends / peers" (13 percent).

• Consumers still are reticent to pay premiums for green gadgets: 57 percent say they do not expect to pay premiums and are not willing to pay. Only 15 percent of consumers say they are expecting premiums and are willing to pay.

According to the GreenFactor research, only a few brands have achieved global green recognition. Consumer perception of brands' green leadership varies by region. For example, consumers in the United States have completely different ideas about green electronics than those in Japan. Dell, Apple, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard are identified as green leaders in the United States. Japanese consumers prefer Japanese companies and say Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, and NEC are leading green.