Consumers Cite Price as Obstacle to Buying Green

A new report also finds a high level of consumer skepticism over companies' dedication to environmental sustainability.
Woman carrying a reusable shopping bag with the words Go Green on it

CHICAGO — Despite an expressed desire to live and shop more sustainably, consumers still remain hesitant over inflationary impacts and price points when it comes to taking action through greener purchases, according to a new report from Growth from Knowledge and NielsonIQ. 

[Read more: CSN EXCLUSIVE: Going Green, Saving Green]

The "Green Gauge" report found the number of Americans who cite price as a barrier to buying green products continues to grow. Currently, a majority of Americans (55%) now say that environmentally friendly products are too costly.

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Additional key findings from the survey of American shoppers include: 

  • Consumers value corporate environmental responsibility, but authenticity is key: 83% of Americans say companies do good things for the environment for their public image, not because they really care.
  • Greenwashing is the ultimate 'no-no': 63% of influencers say they are creating more sustainability content compared to last year but also say the number one barrier to creating sustainable content is fear of potential greenwashing accusations.
  • Consumers care about carbon emissions and the brands taking action on it: 72% of consumers are interested in buying products with labels about the company's carbon footprint and emissions. Consumers will increasingly use their wallets to help fight climate change with carbon-offset purchases.
  • Sustainability has shifted from being viewed by Americans as a badge of honor to a crisis: 
    Defining the Glamor Greens: Glamour Greens are more likely than average to be high-income, millennials or younger and to exhibit an aspirational mindset. They prefer to display their status through environmentally friendly behaviors and purchases
    One in three Americans are "Glamour Greens": While a third of consumers fall into this category, there has been a regression since last year, with the percentage making up this silo falling from a post-pandemic peak of 39% to 34%.
  • The regression of the "Glamour Greens": A retreat on a high level of intentional environmental sustainability highlights a broader reassessment of sustainability by Americans from a badge of honor to a crisis.

The "Green Gauge" report analyzes consumer sentiment and behavioral trends toward sustainability. More details from the latest survey can be found here.

[Read more: Mars Furthers Sustainability Journey With New Venture]

For more than 89 years, Growth from Knowledge has provided clients with a complete understanding of consumers’ buying behavior, and the dynamics impacting their markets, brands and media trends. In 2023, the company combined with NielsonIQ, bringing together two industry leaders with global reach. 

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