Teens Prefer Saving Green over Going Green

Younger consumers between the ages of 13-29 are generally more concerned about environmental issues than the population as a whole. But, do their concerns translate into a willingness to buy green products that often cost more than less green alternatives? According to a study done by Generate Insight, 76% of millenials believe companies and brands should get involved in the green movement.

These high expectations do not always translate into purchase intention, however. Given a scenario of buying a soda from a company that gives 5% of sales to environmental causes or from a competing company that does not support such causes but is less expensive, 71% of teen consumers said they would buy the less expensive soda. The numbers shift markedly among 18-21 and 22-29 consumers; approximately two-thirds in each of those age groups indicated a preference for the soda marketed by the environmentally conscious company.

The priority placed on protecting the environment by millenials is laudable. What are the barriers preventing their beliefs and attitudes to influence their behavior? Economics is one barrier. The price premium often associated with green products can make them a tougher sell to a market that has less total income than older age groups. A related barrier is that consumers often do not understand why green products carry a higher selling price. This lack of education about the cost of producing green products should be addressed by marketers. In addition to messages about how they are trying to make a difference through producing green products, a secondary aim should be to inform the marketplace about the higher costs of producing green products. Such an effort may not increase purchase intent for green products by itself, but at least it may reduce perceptions that companies are trying to reap excess profits from the green movement.

Link: Center for Media Research - "Green Perceptions and Packaging"

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