Nearly Half of Adults Are More Inclined to Buy Eco-Friendly Products, and Four in Ten Would Pay More for Them

Still, a Majority Say that They Buy Whichever Products Suit their Needs at the Time, Green or Not

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New York, NY – A quarter of respondents (25%) report that they always proactively take steps to green their home or lifestyle, such as recycling, driving energy efficient vehicles, weatherizing their home, using eco-friendly products, etc, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of An additional 60% say that they sometimes take these actions, while just 15% say that they never do.

  • Those most likely to say that they always try to green their home or lifestyle include college graduates (33%) and residents of the West and Northeast (30%, respectively).

Nearly half (46%) say that they are more inclined to buy a product if it is environmentally friendly, though 16% say that they aren’t more likely to buy a product they know is green, and 4% say that they do not buy green products. A third (34%) say that it makes no difference if a product is environmentally friendly.

  • Majorities of college graduates (55%), Northeasterners (54%), and adults under 35 (53%) say that they are more inclined to buy a product if they know it is environmentally friendly.

Additionally, four in ten (41%) would pay a little more for a product or service if they knew it was environmentally friendly. Still, a majority of respondents (59%) would be unwilling to pay a higher price.

  • Those who tend to be more inclined to buy green products are also more likely to say they would pay more for them: college graduates (46%), Northeasterners (48%), adults under 35 (48%).

When it comes to their purchasing habits, just 3% say that they only buy eco-friendly products. An additional four in ten (40%) say that they buy green, eco-friendly products when they are readily available and there is no big cost difference. Yet a majority (51%) report that they buy whichever products suit their needs at the time, green or not, and 6% never buy eco-friendly products.

  • Women are more likely than are men to buy green products if it is convenient and the price point is right (45% vs. 36%). College graduates are also more likely to do so than those without a college degree (45% vs. 38%).

Seven in ten adults (71%) feel that they are aware of the positive and/or adverse environmental impact of products that they purchase every day, including 17% who strongly feel this way. Still, three in ten (29%) are lacking knowledge about the environmental impact of the products they purchase every day.

  • Those most likely to agree that they are aware of the environmental impact of their everyday purchases include those under 35 (78%), parents (78%), college graduates (77%), Midwesterners (74%), and full-time workers (73%).

While seven in ten are aware about the environmental impact of the products that they buy regularly, fewer (57%) say that they actually think about this when making everyday purchases. Four in ten (43%) report that they do not think about the impact that products have on the environment when making everyday purchases.

  • Again, adults 18-34 (68%) and college graduates (66%) are most likely to be taking the environmental impact of products into account when making everyday purchases.

Just 15% of respondents say that they would be more inclined to shop with retailers that support environmental charities, though an additional 39% say that it can have some impact on whether or not they support a business. A quarter (24%) say that they don't care about what charities or causes a business supports, so it wouldn’t have an impact on where they shop. An additional 22% have no opinion.

  • Nearly a quarter of adults under 35 (23%) report that they are more inclined to shop with retailers that support environmental charities.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted April 4-6, 2012. For the survey, national samples of 1,016 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 1,016 and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire adult population of adults aged 18 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Rebecca Sizelove
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

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About Ipsos

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Nearly Half of Adults Are More Inclined to Buy Eco-Friendly Products, and Four in Ten Would Pay More for Them

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Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America