The new Yankelovich report on green living is out, and is confirming what we have been seeing in the marketplace. Sure, citizens are concerned about the environment, but they are not willing to pay extra for green products.
Environmentalism is developing among U.S. consumers — especially among Echo Boomers (ages16-29) and GenXers (ages 30-43), who both said they are more concerned about the environment compared to a year ago. But while interest in green issues continues to grow, consumers’ willingness to pay more for green alternatives has decreased. “There is a looming challenge for marketers of green products and services,” said Dr. David Bersoff, the EVP in charge of global knowledge and intelligence at Yankelovich and author of Going Green 2. “Consumers will be pushing for stricter governmental and institutional green policies, and they’ll be choosing brands to a greater extent based on green considerations. But at the same time, they are becoming less willing to help marketers pay for the greening of their business and products.” While concern about the environment is increasing among the population as a whole, it is still — for the most part — a minority position. Although 49% of consumers feel that our environmental problems are severe and 51% feel that these problems demand immediate corrective action, only 41% of Americans express high levels of personal concern, a meager four-point increase over last year. “It is important to note that, contrary to what might have been expected in the midst of rising unemployment unemployment, interest rates and fuel prices, increased levels of economic concern did not reduce levels of environmental concern,” said Dr. Bersoff. “In fact, somewhat surprisingly, consumers who have no financial anxiety appear to be the least attractive targets for new green products and services.”
The pressure is on marketers and policy makers to green their stuff, at no extra cost to consumers. Of course, this does not relieve citizens from their responsibility to consume less.