Breaking news -- people like clean air and water!
Now get the fainting couch -- sometimes people may even think about the environment when making a purchase decision!
Sarcasm aside, it is easy to become jaded about people’s true levels of engagement with the environment and how this translates into purchase decisions.
We’ve been tracking these fickle attitudes towards environmental consciousness, a.k.a. ‘green’ awareness, since the early 1970s, through GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer® and the GfK Consumer Life Worldwide Study.
Generally, attitudes towards the environment track fairly closely with the state of the economy, i.e. good economy equals more concern for the environment, people willing to pay or make sacrifices for ‘green’ products.
Currently, we are seeing the tide of environmental concern rise in many markets around the world. From GfK’s Consumer Life Worldwide Study, averaged across 18 countries, 34% cite environmental pollution as one of the three things they are most concerned about. This is up from 26% in 2011 and is now the #3 concern, behind “money enough to live right and pay the bills” (36% in 2016) and “inflation and high prices” (35% in 2016).
In the US, recent GfK MRI data shows people increasingly see global warming as a serious threat. It is important to note, however, that buying behavior for selected categories – mostly home products like light bulbs and cleaning liquids -- has remained flat since 2010, according to GfK MRI. Still, concern/awareness is up, which can be a precursor to increased purchasing behavior.
So what does this mean for brands? Here are three considerations to guide your efforts:
Though some might believe otherwise, we are indeed in a period of rising environmental concern. The question is, will brands see this as an opportunity to connect.
Tim Kenyon is Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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