Consumers Still Buying Green Through Economic Changes

Consumers Still Buying Green Through Economic Changes

Most consumers have not cut back their spending on green products, according to a new survey.

The 2009 National Green Buying survey by Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing found that half of consumers are buying just as many green products now as they did before the economic downturn began. An additional 19 percent are buying more products than before, and 14 percent are buying fewer green products.

When asked what the main factor is when making purchasing decisions, the amount of consumers that said a product's reputation mattered most (21 percent) was followed closely by word of mouth (19 percent) and brand loyalty (15 percent).

Only 9 percent said that green advertising is the primary influence on their purchase choices.

The survey revealed a few other issues related to green advertising. About one in three of those surveyed said they do not know how to tell if the claims on a green product are true, with only one out of 10 consumers trusting product claims no matter what.

Some consumers are taking the initiative to ferret out the truth behind some advertisements, with 24 percent saying the read packaging to understand more about claims and 17 percent researching online or looking at studies.

Consumers were also asked which green actions they make, with the grand majority (87 percent) saying they recycle. Almost the same amount look for minimal packaging (60 percent) and buy green cleaning products (58 percent), and 31 percent buy green personal care products.

Conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, the telephone survey questioned 1,000 consumers. Details of the survey were announced at the Greenwashing Forum at the University of Oregon on Feb. 6.

Another survey on consumer spending released earlier this year found that while consumers cut back on spending, more than 75 percent consider environmental and social aspects in deciding what to buy and about a third are willing to pay more for those benefits.