Even a recession won't quell the green movement, but a price reduction wouldn't hurt, industry observers told SN.
“The green trend is bigger than the current economic slowdown,” David Lockwood, director, U.S. research, Mintel Reports, Mintel International Group, Chicago, said. “Green buying might be a little slower than it would have been if the economy were still robust, but the main point is that the market for green items will be relatively stronger than the market for conventional items.”
In a recent survey on green living, Mintel found that in a 16-month time span, from August 2006 to December 2007, those who never buy green products dropped from 20% to 10%, and those who almost always do increased from 12% to 36%.
Green products were defined as goods that minimize the impact of the environment in one or more of the following ways:
- The use of recycled materials.
- The absence or reduction of harmful chemicals and solvents.
- The use of organic/pesticide-free farming methods.
- Reduced energy and water usage.
- The use of forestry products from sustainable woods.
- Products that create less waste/pollution.
At Zupan's Markets, an independent in Vancouver, Wash., the retailer hasn't noticed a slowdown in the purchasing of eco-friendly products, according to Jim Cornwall, general manager and health and beauty care buyer/merchandiser.
“Part of it might be the type of store we are. We are an upscale grocery store, and rising gas and food prices hit lower-income consumers first,” he said.
Even before there was talk about a recession, however, members of the HomeTrend Influentials panel, or HIPsters, organized by A.J. Riedel, senior partner, Riedel Marketing Group, Phoenix, “couldn't understand why there is so much extra cost involved in being green,” Riedel said.
“Many of these trend-setting consumers would buy more green products if they didn't cost so much more than the regular version of the product.”