Think older consumers mark the "sweet spot" for green marketing messages? Think again: A new survey finds that younger consumers are more likely to buy greener brands - because they understand that global warming is caused by human activities.
The U.S. consumer survey, by EnviroMedia Social Marketing, reveals a clear generation gap in understanding the cause of climate change. Sixty-four percent of 18- to 34-year-olds believe humans cause climate change, compared to 51% overall. At the same time, the research indicates that Americans who believe in this connection are almost twice as likely to buy more green products.
"This should serve as a wake-up call to sellers and marketers of current and future green products and to any company in general," says Kevin Tuerff, CEO of Green Canary Sustainability Consulting, a subsidiary of EnviroMedia. "These consumers reward companies providing services and products that are less toxic, less packaged, and less energy intensive."
Tuerff cautions, however, that while younger consumers tend to be more idealistic and values-driven in their purchasing decisions, they're also much better at identifying superficial green marketing messages. "Companies looking to make a quick buck off this generation by 'going green' should be wary of being labeled a greenwasher by the same audience," he says.
The survey notes that consumers who link climate change to human activity are also more likely to:
* Have attended college
* Believe that green transportation or electricity from renewable resources is most beneficial for the environment (rather than recycling or minimal/reduced packaging)
* Are influenced more in their green purchasing decisions by third-party certifications than by word-of-mouth or manufacturer labels
source: Sustainable Life Media 3/12/2009 e-newsletter