From Euromonitor: Green Buying Behavior – Results from a Global Online Survey

From Euromonitor: Green Buying Behaviour: Global Online Survey: the importance of green descriptors. Despite the recession, issues such as sustainability, health, world poverty, animal welfare and food safety have become increasingly important factors guiding shoppers’ purchasing decisions.  Shoppers are more interested in the way their food is produced, especially in the face of the negative publicity surrounding modern, efficiency-driven production processes. As a result, retailers and manufacturers are quick to use green attributes as a point of differentiation.  From beauty products to household goods and groceries, terms such as “natural”, “organic”, “locally sourced”, and “fair trade”, have begun to feature increasingly on labels and ingredient lists, and many consumers are willing to pay a premium for them.

Chart 1 Global: “How important are the following factors/descriptors to you when considering purchasing a product or service?”

The survey revealed that while “quality” and “price” were still the overriding factors driving shoppers’ buying decisions, green descriptors are also now playing a greater role than ever before.  Although the general “green/environmentally friendly” descriptor ranked highest among these, with 53% of respondents deeming it to be fairly important, all other factors were supported by at least 44% of respondents.

Chart 3 Global: “I am willing to pay more for a product that is _”

The relatively affluent groups of Brazilian, Chinese and Indian consumers who took part in the survey were more concerned than those of any other country about environmental and ethical factors, while the Japanese showed the least interest in most descriptors.  Although the survey is not representative of the total populations of Brazil, China and India, given the skew towards affluent urban consumers, the findings were nevertheless indicative of a fledgling green movement among the middle classes.

Globally, all the listed green attributes matter more to women than to men with 56% of female respondents considering the descriptor “green/environmentally friendly” to be important, versus just 49% of males.  “Fair trade” was found to be important to more than half of shoppers (51%), despite the fact that domestic markets for fair trade products are as yet undeveloped in China, India and Brazil. Sustainability issues have come to the fore in recent years, and this is reflected in the fact that more than half (51%) of respondents felt strongly about the descriptor “sustainably produced.”

In a related story: Quick Pulse: Green Buying – An Exploration of “Green” Consumer Trends. While green factors do influence many respondents’ purchase decisions, they trail price and quality by a significant margin. Green products with the “natural” label hold the most appeal in some regions, more than strong brand names. Other green labels are less important in buying decisions.  Still, analysts feel that awareness of green products has been growing and will continue to grow in all regions, though many note that awareness does not necessarily translate to interest, especially if prices remain high.

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