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Younger Consumers NOT So Eco-Friendly

Want to find the most eco-friendly shoppers? Don’t look at the 18–34 set. While it’s conventional wisdom that younger shoppers are more “green” than older ones, a new study says nope, it’s ain’t so!

According to The Checkout, a shopper experience study currently underway by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, the demographic with the highest eco-consciousness are those aged 55+. And while consumers are willing to make easy changes such as switching out light bulbs, when it comes to doing something that requires more time, money and effort, such as only purchasing locally-grown organic food or carpooling, the amount of willing participants drops.

“Marketers must focus on the emotional need instead of only the functional benefits if they want to see change,” stated M/A/R/C Research Executive Vice President Randy Wahl as quoted in a MediaPost article on the topic. “They need to make it worth their while. Price and quality are largely functional benefits. An emotional reward that focuses on how consumers feel versus the functional environmental benefit is the territory in which marketers must play.”

It reminds me of the SunChips compostable bag debacle. Sure, consumers want a biodegradable bag, but if it’s too loud, then, well, they hate it. So gimme green — but don’t irritate me to do it!

It’s really quite a sad situation. Study after study shows that consumers want to go green, but they don’t want to experience inconvenience of any kind as part of the process. This study is no exception. (It did show that 24% of shoppers claimed they were willing to pay more for something if it makes them feel like they are contributing to saving the environment, but if it’s all talk and no action, what’s the point?)

If only environmental benefits could be conjured up by wishes, greening the planet would be a lot easier!

Image: Courtesy of The Stock Exchange (uploaded by mapelc)

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.

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