Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

By Samuel R. Avro on Feb 21, 2009 with no responses

Survey: Recession Causing Fewer People To Go ‘Green’


Consumers are looking for the cheapest available options, according to a new survey.

As the effects of the global economic recession spread, a new survey finds that Americans are less interested in going ‘green’ during these uncertain financial times.

During the economic uncertainties that Americans are going through today, that even the usual gala celebrations of the Oscars are reportedly scaling back, people are finding it difficult to go green when there are other options that are less expensive.

“People’s priorities have changed because of economic hardship. A substantial number of shoppers are now struggling just to provide the basics for their families, so green living is no longer top of mind for many Americans,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, Ph. D and senior research analyst at Mintel, who conducted the survey.

According to the new research from Mintel, the number of Americans who say they almost always or regularly buy green products remains unchanged since last year, at 36%. This comes after tripling the previous year (from 12% in 2007 to 36% in 2008, according to Mintel consumer survey data).

In other consumer surveys, Mintel has uncovered similar hesitance towards buying green based on price. Consumers seem to be showing their tendency to save cash over going green.

An October 2008 report on organics revealed that nearly four in five adults (78%) say they would buy more organic food if the products were less expensive. Likewise, a January report on environmentally-friendly cleaners showed that 52% of shoppers who buy household cleaning products feel green cleaning products are too expensive.

“Today’s shopper is looking for value,” noted Marcia Mogelonsky. “Value doesn’t mean just low prices, but cost is definitely a factor. True value includes health and safety benefits, quality, convenience, appeal and trust, all at a reasonable price. Companies who provide those benefits, as well as appease shoppers’ green sensibilities, will enjoy success despite the recession.”

Mintel still sees many opportunities for growth in green markets over the next few years. The consumer research firm forecasts 19% growth for green products overall through 2013, though the recession is expected to impact sales through this year.