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“Greenbacks” more valuable than green products – Few will pay extra for green products

by | Sep 14, 2011 | Customer Centric, Trend Tracker | 0 comments

According to Nielsen’s 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey, while 83% of consumers around the world say it is important that companies implement programs to improve the environment, only 22% say they will pay more for an eco-friendly product.
Global Online Consumers
Position % of Respondents
Important for companies to have environmental products 83%
Raw materials influence decisions on where to shop and what to buy 76%
Will pay more for eco-friendly products 22%
Source: Nielsen, Global Online Survey, Q1 2011

Willingness to pay extra for environmentally-friendly goods is highest in the Middle East/Africa, where one-third of consumers are willing and lowest in North America, where only 12% of both Canadians and Americans say they will pay extra for eco-friendly products.
Many consumers reported a personal preference for eco-friendly goods, but large percentages of respondents report setting aside this preference and buying whichever product is cheapest, including:

  • 48% in North America
  • 36% in Middle East/Africa
  • 35% in Europe
  • 33% in Asia Pacific
  • 27% in Latin America

Global consumers have mixed feelings about the environmental impact and benefits of particular sustainable practices. While 64% of consumers, globally, indicated they believe organic products are good for environment, there is wide regional disparity of opinion. 80% of Latin Americans and 72% of Asia Pacific respondents think organic products are environmentally-friendly, but fewer people are convinced in Europe (58%), Middle East/Africa (57%), and North America (49%).
Among other environmental and sustainability efforts manufacturers have taken, recycled packaging and energy efficient products are seen as the most broadly helpful. Fully 83% believe that manufacturers using recycled packaging and producing energy efficient products and appliances have a positive impact on the environment.
Fewer consumers are convinced of the environmental impact of local products (59%), fair trade products (51%) and products not tested on animals (44%).
Belief in the impact of “local” products is highest in North America, where 65% of consumers believe these products have a positive impact on the environment.

Belief in Sustainable Products Having Positive Impact on Environment (% of Respondents; Global Average)
Product % of Respondents; Multiple OK
Energy efficient products or appliances 83%
Products in recyclable packaging 83
Products with little or no packaging 69
Organic products 64
Bought from farmer’s market 61
Ethnically produced or grown 60
Not traveled long distance to store 60
Locally made products 59
Fairtrade products 51
Products not tested on animals 44
Source: Nielsen, Global Online Survey, Q1 2011

Three quarters of global online consumers say they take raw materials into account when deciding where to shop and what to buy. Latin American consumers are most likely to take materials into account: nearly 9 out of 10 say that the use of raw materials harmful to the environment influences where they shop and what they buy. North American consumers are the least influenced by the use of harmful raw materials (59%).
While sustainability initiatives may not be enough to move a brand to the top of the decision set just yet, consumers are interested in making a difference, concludes the report.
For additional information from Nielsen, please visit here.