US Consumers Say They’re 'Green' but Don't Always Spend that Way

Number of consumers who say they want green products edges up a bit

April 17, 2017

The number of US consumers who want to buy “green” products has risen a bit over the past six years, but actual purchasing of environmentally friendly household items hasn’t changed much—and in some cases has actually declined.

According to the latest edition of GfK MRI’s annual “Survey of the American Consumer,” 56% of US adults said they were willing to pay more for green products in 2016, up slightly from 53% in 2010.

Similarly, 50% of survey respondents said they were willing to give up some convenience in return for a product that is environmentally safe, compared with 47% in 2010.

Meanwhile, more consumers expressed concern about global warming, with 69% agreeing with the statement, “Global warming is a serious threat.” In 2010, 64% said the same.

But, GfK said, usage of some of the top green products—including green light bulbs, all-purpose cleaners and facial tissues—has been flat or even declined since 2010.

The relationship between concerns about the environment and material needs is a tangled one for US consumers. A survey by Accenture released earlier this year found that only a little more than one-third of US internet users were more likely to be loyal to companies whose environmental or social values aligned with their own.

Just 37% of respondents said “supporting and acting upon causes we have in common (e.g., environment, social and charitable causes)” was a factor in their loyalty to a brand or company.

The respondents in Accenture’s survey were far more likely to be concerned about brands being trustworthy with their personal data or contacting them too often.