Are Green Products too Cheap?

Sustainable Life Media

Although many purport that lowering the price of green products will help bring them into the mainstream, this new study suggests that doing the opposite could be a more effective way of gaining customers.

Posted Sept. 16, 2009
By Sustainable Life Media

A new study suggests that the most effective way to gain and retain
green customers is to raise product prices – appealing to both logic
and status motives.

The study, conducted at the University of Minnesota and soon to be
published in the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, finds
that consumers are not just interested in using their purchasing power
to further the sustainability agenda, they want to use these products
as a status symbol as well.

The report was kick-started based on findings that consumers
purchasing the Toyota Prius ranked "environmental conservation" last on
the list of 5 reasons they purchased the vehicle. The top reason was to
make a personal statement. This fact is supported by research
indicating that when shopping at home, consumers' preference to
purchase sustainable goods decreases – leading researchers to believe
that sustainable purchasing was important to many consumers only when
it would be observed and add to their reputation. "The modern
alternative to being luxurious is spending extra money to broadcast
that you are a pro-social, pro-environmental individual." said the
report's author, Vladas Griskevicius.

Does that this mean luxury goods is the only niche for sustainable produced products? Not in the least. Other recent findings indicate that lower-income consumers are driving much of the sustainable products market, and that affordability is key.

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