Green to be seen—some consumers only going green to impress others

April 19, 2013
Chicago (April 19, 2013) — No matter how you are (or aren’t) celebrating Earth Day on Monday, it’s likely that Americans are at least thinking about the health of the environment and considering ways they can be more responsible. However, new Mintel research on green consumer habits suggests that they might be motivated to go green to improve their image, as roughly one in five (19%) survey respondents say they believe it’s important for others to perceive them as being “green.”
Moreover, among those who feel it’s important to be perceived as green, 24% admit to having purchased a green product just to show others that they are environmentally conscious (vs. a 9% average), and 20% admit to having concealed recyclable trash in with their regular garbage so that others can’t tell they didn’t separate their recycling (vs. an 8% average).
Fiona O’Donnell, lifestyles and leisure analyst at Mintel says:
“Clearly, avoiding a potential negative perception from others drives at least some green behaviors. On one hand, the green movement benefits from the social pressures that many consumers feel to go green. On the other hand, because some consumers are acting in an environmentally friendly manner to avoid a negative stigma—and not truly out of concern for the environment—once the social pressure is removed, green behaviors are less likely to stick.”
Mintel’s research also found that 14% of 18-24-year-olds switched to a more environmentally-friendly product because of a post by a friend on a social networking site. Meanwhile, 12% of that same age group admitted to “liking” a company on Facebook, following them on Twitter or pinning them to their Pinterest board because of their green practices.
“Facebook users aged 18-34 have been measured as having an average of more than 300 friends, which means that the range of influence that green company advocates may have on their social circles can have a far-reaching effect on consumers’ perception of a company or brand,” concludes Fiona O’Donnell.
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