Report: Consumers are increasingly green

New York City A new study suggests it would be a big mistake to interpret reduced sales as reduced interest in the environment, according to a report by Marketing Daily.

In fact, according to new research from GfK Roper Consulting, there's been little change in consumers’ commitment to the environment -- just a big shift in how they approach it, replacing idealism with hard-boiled pragmatism.

"Consumer commitment to green living is very stable," Tim Kenyon, senior analyst for GfK's consumer trends division, said. "But if products are too expensive, they will find other ways to express that commitment. They may buy fewer green products, but they'll do things like cut their energy costs or reduce consumption." The study finds that 60% of people now believe green products are too costly, a six-point increase from 2006.

The recession has ushered many of these consumers from environmental altruism to a more practical approach, he said, with green purchases more likely to be driven by the desire to save money, be healthier, or get more value. They're also measuring the worth of their time differently, with 28% saying they are "too busy" to do what it takes to be green.

Although shoppers are expressing a greater interest in environmental purchases, "consumers are more conscious of picking and choosing, and beginning to make trade-offs. That's true on larger purchases as well, like replacing a roof or re-carpeting the home. And that may be the beginning of the next stage of eco-consciousness -- when people begin to think long and hard about the cost and environmental benefits of one solution versus another, and even consider less consumption, overall, as an environmental option."

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