71% of Consumers Think Green When Purchasing

by | Apr 3, 2013

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A record-high 71 percent of Americans consider the environment when they shop, up from 66 percent in 2008, according to research from Cone Communications.

Some 7 percent consider the environment every time they shop while 20 percent consider it regularly. Forty-four percent consider it sometimes, according to  the 2013 Cone Communications Green Gap Trend Tracker.

Even as thinking “green” is increasingly at the forefront of consumers’ minds, Americans still struggle with their role in the lifecycle of products with an environmental benefit. Nine in 10 respondents say they believe it’s their responsibility to properly use and dispose of these products, but action isn’t aligning with intent: Only 30 percent say they often use products in a way that achieves the intended environmental benefit. Some 42 percent say they dispose of products in a way that fulfills the intended environmental benefit.

Despite the lack of consistent follow-through, consumers are showing an inclination to learn more. Americans report they regularly read and follow instructions on how to properly use (71 percent) or dispose (66 percent) of a product. Some 41 percent said they perform additional research to determine how best to utilize and discard a product for maximum benefit, according to the survey.

Nearly all respondents (85 percent) want companies to educate them on how to properly use and dispose of products. But they identify significant barriers to doing so, as well. One-third of consumers (33 percent) cited not having the adequate resources, such as disposal bins and community access, as the primary reason for not disposing or using products as intended, while 20 percent stated they simply do not know how to do so.

Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of consumers wish companies would do a better job helping them understand environmental terms. Although they feel overwhelmed by the volume of messages in the marketplace, consumers prioritize authenticity over perfection and will punish companies if they feel misled: Some 48 percent say they are overwhelmed by environmental messages, the survey says.

A company’s honesty on green issues is also an important factor for consumers: some 69 percent say it’s OK if a company is not environmentally perfect as long as it is honest, but 78 percent say they will boycott a product if they discover an environmental claim to be misleading.

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