Green Consumers Willing to Spend a Little More This Holiday Season

Christmas shoppingMy favorite radio station is usually giving the news every morning just about the time I’m making my boys’ lunches. Lately, I’ve been flipping the station as soon as I hear the news start. It’s a variation on a theme each morning. The Dow is down. One bank or another is failing. The government is considering bailing out one industry or another. Consumer confidence is hitting record lows, and even the holiday season won’t reverse that. People will be spending a lot less than they have in previous years.

A study of Americans done by the retailer Plow & Hearth, however, shows that some consumers – green consumers – are willing to spend a little more to buy a product that is environmentally friendly. According to an article on Portland Business Journal the study found that

About two-thirds of those going green this year say they are willing to spend between 10 percent and 25 percent more to by ecofriendly holiday green gifts.

Here are a few other statistics that the study found:

  • 55% of women are likely to purchase green products
  • 45% of men are likely to purchase green products
  • Middle-aged and younger people are more likely to buy green than older people
  • Those who live in the West are more likely to buy eco-friendly than other parts of the country
  • 34% said that money is the most important factor when it comes to deciding about purchasing an eco-friendly product

So what can we conclude from this?

First of all, it needs to be noted that this study was done by a company that sells some eco-friendly products. I tend to be wary of results from studies and surveys done by a party that has an interest in the results.

But if these findings are accurate, there’s some good news here. Even in these tough economic times, many people are still seeing the importance of making sure that their purchases leave a lighter impact on the earth. They also understand that their eco-friendly purchases may have to come at a higher price tag and are willing to pay extra up to a certain extent.

Another study done by Deloitte LLP showed that some consumers are not only willing to spend more for green gifts, they are also willing to alter their shopping and gift giving practices to be more environmentally friendly.

38 percent of consumers saying they will use fewer plastic bags while 21 percent are planning on not wrapping holiday gifts to conserve paper.

Some shoppers also believe that shopping online instead of heading out to the brick and morter stores is more environmentally friendly because it saves on gas. That may or may not be true, depending on what is being purchased and how far it needs to be shipped. And while unlike the gift where it can be argued that “it’s the the thought that counts,” this shows that many consumers are trying to think of how they can lower their envionmental impact for the season even if they don’t always get it right.

I like that many more consumers are beginning to consider the impact of not only their purchases but also how they purchase and even how they present those purchases. It seems like this year, even with our economic problems, there is a lot more talk about this than there was last year, and last year there was talk. It may take us a while, but perhaps eventually, considering the environmental impact of our holiday purchases will become the norm for everyone until it doesn’t even need to be a consideration anymore, it’s just the way it is.

Image courtesy of Wolfiewolf on flickr

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