One in Three to Buy Green Electronics

December 29, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Men | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

Although awareness of “green” consumer electronic (CE) offerings lags behind sectors like household products and autos, 33% of consumers expect to make some type of green CE purchase within two years, according to data released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).


“Going Green: An Examination of the Green Trend and What it Means to Consumers and the CE Industry,” finds that 89% of households want their next television to more energy efficient, writes Environmental Leader (via Retailer Daily).

Price and features remain the primary purchase drivers for CE products, but green attributes will increasingly be a factor, the study found: 53% of consumers say they would be willing to pay some type of premium for televisions with green attributes.

The study also finds consumers want an easy way to determine whether a product meets environmental standards, such as logos and descriptions printed on the product packaging.

Among the key findings of the CEA study, which surveyed an online sample of 960 adults:


  • Familiarity with green terminology is high for established terms such as “recyclable” (86%) or “energy efficiency” (76%), but lower for emerging terms such as “carbon footprint” (33%).
  • Awareness of green labels and logos follows a similar pattern: 82% of online adults recognize the Energy Star logo and 86% recognize the recycling arrows, but only 16% recognize the certified organic product logo.
  • Consumers are most familiar with green offerings in the household-products category, the food category, and the vehicle category. In each case, the quantity of offerings, length of time on the market, or the notoriety of product offering have contributed to the high familiarity rates.
  • Awareness of appliances with green attributes tops awareness of computers with similar attributes (50% vs. 17%). This also stems from how these two product categories are sold, with consumers having more experience evaluating the energy efficiency of appliance purchases than PC purchases.

Green Behaviors

  • Heightened green awareness sometimes translates to a higher level of engagement in green behaviors in some cases, but not others:
    • For example, 87% of consumers say they turn room lights off when not in use, and 62% say they recycle household trash always or usually.
    • Women tend to be more green than men: For example, 66% of women say they always shut off lights when not in use compared with 52% of males. Men and women recycle at about the same rates though.
    • For a basket of CE products (TVs, computers, phones, VCRs), consumers report a 26% increase in recycling of the devices from 2005 to 2007.
    • The teenage segment of the population exhibits fewer green behaviors. About 4 in 10 turn off the lights when not in use and about one-third recycle.
  • Attitudinal data reveals consumers have varying degrees of concern over the environment:
    • 55% of consumers consider themselves environmentally conscious, while only 44% of teens fall into this category.
    • 74% believe companies should do more to protect the environment, but only 53% think their personal actions have a significant impact on the environment.
  • Over half (55%) of consumers plan to engage in more environmentally friendly behaviors over the next 12 months.
  • Various factors influence consumers’ decision to engage or not engage in green behaviors:
    • Asked why they would engage in green behaviors, consumers are most likely to respond by saying “it’s the right thing to do” (69%), followed by “saving money” (63%), suggesting that companies must appeal to consumers’ desire to do the right thing but also to their pocketbook concerns.
    • Those who haven’t or won’t engage in green behaviors cite cost (which raises a red flag as a perception problem) or simply “they didn’t think about it.”

Green Confusion and Suspicions

Suspicions and confusion of green claims exist. The majority of consumers say they are at least somewhat unfamiliar with the green attributes of the products they purchase. In additiona, about half of consumers express suspicion regarding the green claims made by some companies.

  • 65% of consumers think some companies are overstating how environmentally friendly their products are in order to sell more.
  • Males are more suspicious of exaggerated green claims than females.

Green as a Product Attribute

  • Cars top the list of products for greening: 73% say it is important for cars to have environmentally friendly attributes, whereas 65% say the same about consumer electronics. Home furnishings (47%) and clothing (44%) are viewed as the least-important product types to be green.
  • While price and feature sets are most important to consumers when deciding on what CE products to purchase, 57% of consumers indicate that the environmentally friendly attributes of a product will be important to their next purchase decision.

Green CE Defined

  • The top 5 attributes that consumers feel green CE should possess: recyclable packaging (68%), recyclable product (64%), energy-efficient product (62%), packaging made with recycled materials (57%), and biodegradable packaging (53%).
  • 10% of consumers indicate having purchased some type of green CE device over the past 12 months, and 6% have purchased a green CE accessory product. Green CE purchases are dominated by early adopters (18% CE device purchase, 12% CE accessory purchase).

Green Positioning

Consumers want an easy way to determine whether and why a product is green. Most (59%) want to know the specific attributes that make a CE product green, and 41% want to know whether it is or isn’t.

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