Time, effort and money are the three major obstacles to environmentally concerned shoppers buying green products, according to a New Zealand-Australian study out Monday Traditional marketing methods are failing to win over shoppers, said researchers at New Zealand’s Victoria University and Australia’s Macquarie University, who set out to explain the gap between consumers’ concern for the environment and their comparatively non-green purchases.
“Despite consumers’ positive attitudes about the environment, and their growing environmental consciousness, several studies have revealed an inconsistency between green attitudes and behavior,” Dr Micael-Lee Johnstone said in a statement. One of the strongest themes to emerge from their research with focus groups were consumers’ perceptions that it was too hard to be green, which could lead to inaction.
“According to our focus groups, being environmentally responsible takes time, effort and money,” Johnstone said. “There is also a perception that one needs to be knowledgeable, have self-discipline and be prepared to make personal sacrifices to be green.”
Some consumers thought that going green would require giving up daily niceties, while others felt the unavailability of green products, or the not-so-green habits of their housemates, made it more difficult to make green choices. Geographic location was also an influence, with urban consumers feeling their setting made it harder to be eco-friendly, while those living in non-urban areas were more likely to be motivated by their natural surroundings to buy green products.
The traditional marketing approach that focused on the environmental benefits of green products was failing, said Johnstone. “Efforts should be made to make green appear easy, attainable and non-exclusive,” she said. “Essentially, marketers and policy-makers need to work on normalizing it because consumers are more likely to adopt behaviours and buy products that they perceive to be mainstream and part of the social norm.”