Few Adults Consider Climate Impacts of Purchases
When it comes to climate change and purchasing decisions, there are widely varying shades of green, according to data from Forrester Research.
The research firm reported today that consumers, and European consumers in particular, increasingly expect companies to protect the environment. But at the same time, only 32 percent of U.S. consumers say concerns about climate change affect their buying decisions. Price and convenience carry far more weight, the research suggests.
And while there is a clear correlation between age and green behaviors — older consumers are less likely to purchase green products — Gen Z isn';t necessarily the generation leading the charge for sustainability and change. In fact, there's no one-size-fits-all; approach when it comes to green consumers, says Thomas Husson, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester.
Key findings in the report include the following:
- Australian and U.S. consumers are the least green.Only 52 percent of Australian and 54 percent of U.S. online adults are concerned about the impact of climate change on society, in contrast with 74 percent of Italian online adults.
- However, while they lag behind most other countries, U.S. and Australian consumers' attitudes toward the environment are evolving due to the impact of the pandemic and the recent massive wildfires that have directly affected their lives.
- German and Swedish consumers are not as green as stereotypes suggest.
- Millennials are slightly greener than Gen Z. Forrester data shows a greater proportion of super-green online adults among Millennials (ages 25 to 44) than Gen Z (under 25). Forty-nine percent of U.S. online millennials look for energy-efficient labels when purchasing products, versus 34 percent of U.S. Gen Z online adults.
These results are not surprising, mostly because the younger generation lacks the purchasing power to regularly purchase environmentally sustainable products. That is expected to change as their purchasing power increases, though.
Modern marketers, Husson says, "must understand their own customers'; shade of green to better engage super-green consumers, helping them solve their green consumer paradox to reduce their cognitive dissonance. The way to do this is to break down the barriers to sustainable purchasing."
To do this, Husson suggests companies should do the following:
- Experiment with and launch new products, offerings, and brands.
- Be very cautious not to trade off price or convenience.
- Communicate authentically and transparently on sustainability efforts.
- Master social media and community engagement.
- Take privacy very seriously.