‘Green’ Perception Is No Match For Reality

Marketing daily logo jpeg GreenFactor, a joint study by Strategic Oxygen and Cohn & Wolfe, analyzed consumer perception of electronic brands.  Some of their top findings include that Americans give Dell the highest "green" consumer electronics rating and that there is still an information barrier when considering green brands and products.

Posted Dec. 1, 2008
By Les Luchter, MarketingDaily

When it comes to "green" consumer electronic
brands, consumer perception does not match reality, according to
GreenFactor, a joint study from research firm Strategic Oxygen and PR
agency Cohn & Wolfe.

The survey found that Americans ranked Dell as the top "green" consumer
electronics brand, followed by Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.
However, separate rankings by Greenpeace, based on what brands are
really doing green-wise, place Nokia first–followed by Sony Ericsson,
Toshiba and Samsung. Nokia came in at #14 out of 27 brands in
GreenFactor's U.S. consumer rankings, Samsung at #13, Toshiba at #11
and Sony at #7. In the Greenpeace rankings of 18 leading manufacturers,
Dell placed 12th, Apple ran 14th, HP was 13th and Microsoft came in
17th, ahead of only Nintendo.

"It becomes glaringly obvious that many brands have consumers believing
they're investing much more into their green programs than is true,"
says Michael Gale, CEO of Strategic Oxygen. "Some companies, like
Nokia, have an opportunity to better communicate their green
initiatives to earn a higher spot on the perception scale."

Indeed, 53% of U.S. consumers surveyed cited "lack of awareness" as the
number one barrier to buying green electronics. Price placed second
(45%) as a buying obstacle–with 57% refusing to pay premiums for green
products. This was largely age-driven, however, as 54% of 25-
to-34-year-olds actually said they would pay more–and 23% of those 65
and up said green-ness was simply not important to them.

The research also addressed which areas marketers choose to emphasize and communicate–in contrast to what consumers want.

For example, "saving energy" was cited by more than half (54%) of
Americans who are considering green electronics, with "design" coming
in at 5%.

"Product design ranked at the bottom of both green barriers and
priorities," the researchers noted in a press release, "demonstrating
that for the consumers who say green buying is important, marketers
should focus on making a product's financial return on investment easy
to understand. Otherwise, brands may risk accusations of greenwashing
by making a less green product look like one."

Other findings in the study included:

• How do consumers get their green electronics education? Packaging
(33%) ranked first, followed by a brand's Web site (32%), "independent
brand comments online" (28%), and input from "friends/peers" (13%).

• Which green electronics do consumers want to purchase? Apparently,
the bigger and more expensive the better–as high-def TVs and desktop
computers tied for first (64%), followed close behind by notebooks
(63%), and then printers (60%), digital cameras and media players
(53%), and GPS (51%).

GreenFactor surveyed more than 10,000 adults in 12 countries, including
2,695 in the U.S., during September and October. "Green" technology was
defined as having efficient power consumption, recyclable/reusable
packaging, recycling offers for older equipment, use of non-toxic
materials, or making investments in alternative materials and other
future concepts.

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