Earth Day study: Most shoppers won't pay more for green packaging
Posted by Jenni Spinner, Senior Editor -- Packaging Digest, 4/20/2012 10:04:00 AM
It's gotten a lot harder to be "green." RetailMeNot.com, an online coupon site, revealed in an Earth Day-inspired edition of the Shoppers Trend Report that while 46 percent of respondents are more inclined to buy a product if it is eco-friendly, the majority of respondents (59 percent) are unwilling to pay more money for that eco-friendly product or service. This Shoppers Trend Report includes data from a survey jointly conducted with Ipsos Public Affairs.
Additionally, RetailMeNot announced it was working with Carbonfund.org, a leading carbon offsetting not-for-profit, to identify the top green cities where consumers can shop in the United States. Some of these cities include markets like Austin, TX (our hometown!), San Francisco, CA and St. Paul, MN. The cities were tiered according to a number of factors, including renewable electricity usage, air quality, public transportation options and other energy-efficiency standards.
As a part of the Carbonfund.org partnership, RetailMeNot will work to help reduce the carbon footprint caused by shopping by planting one tree for every click (up to 5,000 trees) on its eco-shopping coupon page.
The RetailMeNot-Ipsos survey found:
The current state of eco-friendly shopping
• A majority of respondents (71 percent) feel that they are aware of the positive and/or adverse environmental impact of products they purchase every day. Still, more than four in 10 respondents (43 percent) report that when they actually make purchases, they do not think about the impact that those products have on the environment.
• Fortunately for Mother Nature, 60 percent of respondents report that they sometimes proactively take steps to "green" their home or lifestyle, such as by recycling, driving energy-efficient vehicles, weatherizing their home, using eco-friendly products, etc. Just 25 percent of respondents say they always take steps to "green" their home or lifestyle, while 15 percent of respondents say they never do.
• Nearly half of the respondents (46 percent) say they are more inclined to buy a product if it is eco-friendly, however a majority of respondents (59 percent) said they would be unwilling to pay a higher price for an eco-friendly product or service over one that is not eco-friendly.
• More than a third of respondents (34 percent) say that it makes no difference to them if a product is eco-friendly.
What drives eco-friendly purchases?
• When it comes to purchasing habits, 40 percent of respondents say they buy green, eco-friendly products when they are readily available and there is no big cost difference versus non-eco-friendly equivalents. Yet a majority of respondents (51 percent) report that they buy whichever products suit their needs at the time, "green" or not.
• Retailer support for environmental charities does not appear to be a significant driver of purchases. Only 15 percent of respondents said support for environmental charities would lead them to be more likely to shop with a retailer vs. 39 percent of respondents who said "maybe" and 24 percent who said no, it was not something that would influence where they shop.
• Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) said that they don't care about what charities or causes a business supports, so it wouldn't have an impact on where they shop.
• It appears that 18 to 34-year-old respondents are more swayed by "green" cause marketing (23 percent vs. only 11 percent of 35 to 54 year olds). Also, non-white respondents were more likely to say they would be persuaded to buy based on retailer support for a "green" charity (24 percent vs. 14 percent of white respondents).
Who is shopping "green" the most?
• Men vs. Women: Women are more likely than men to buy green products if it is convenient and the price point is right (45 percent vs. 36 percent).
• Other leaders in being "green": Additionally, college graduates (55 percent), Northeasterners (54 percent), adults under 35 (53 percent) and households with children (50 percent) are more inclined to buy environmentally- friendly products and to pay more for them.
The "greenest" cities to shop in the United States
When you combine driving to malls and shopping plazas with the billions of coupons and shopping circulars printed every year, plus the increase in retail waste (packaging and other trash), the act of shopping can take a considerable toll on the environment. To celebrate Earth Day, RetailMeNot has partnered with the Carbonfund.org Foundation to determine the greenest cities to shop in the United States.
Carbonfund.org looked at cities with populations of 250,000 or higher and tiered the data for these cities' renewable energy-sourced electricity usage, air quality, public transportation options and efficiency, and Energy Star-certified buildings using data from various U.S. governmental agencies (Census Bureau, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, the EPA and Energy Star program).
A review of RetailMeNot's data for March 2012 also showed that:
• Average reported savings for consumers using RetailMeNot in the month of March 2012 was nearly $21 per transaction, up by 3.9 percent over the same period for the prior year.
• A review of March 2012 Performance Data on RetailMeNot.com found that:
• The three most active coupon-seeking states (in terms of the percentage of Internet users within that state who visited RetailMeNot.com) were Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.
• The three states with the least amount of activity (in terms of the percentage of Internet users within that state who visited RetailMeNot.com) were Arkansas, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
What the consumer pays for the consumer gets. For example, one pound strawberry clamshells contribute 255 Million pounds of trash to landfill. Why? the label causes the clamshell to be non-recyclable. They can direct print all graphics and data directly on the RPET, PET, etc. but do not. and it costs less.
Recyling in communities needs to be improved allowing the consumer to separate packaging to the recycling type. Four bins would be great wih the smallest one being the trash...
Pat Moller - 2012-20-4 19:16:19 EDT
Also, Stuart, it cost a lot of money to develop light weight plastic bottles. You just dont reduce the amount of resin and expect the bottle to perform at the same level as the heavier one. Packaging engineers rely on technological advances in injection and blow molding equipment. In most cases small geometric changes to the bottle design are required to achieve acceptable performance. Are you aware of the cost of new injection and blow molds? It takes many years to recoup those costs.
John Corbett - 2012-20-4 16:02:25 EDT
Well duh, Stuart. companies are in business to make PROFIT! If you do not want to contribute to bottled water companies bottom line, you can always drink water from a tap.
John Corbett - 2012-20-4 15:48:07 EDT
John Corbett - 2012-20-4 15:40:52 EDT
Whole direction of this article pretty bogus. The TRUTH is that many green packages save an enormous amount of money for manufacturers who pass NONE of the saving on to customers. One good example are the sellers of bottled water (forget the bogus associations with pure mountain streams). Many have redesigned their bottles to use less material, be thinner and lighter. Great! This significantly reduces their cost of manufacture and shipping with all of that savings going to profits and positive spin.
Stuart Nezin - 2012-20-4 15:31:10 EDT
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