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Consumers are not flocking to products labeled green and eco-friendly. At first glance, this behavior by consumers is surprising. A recent poll of Europeans and Americans indicated that broad swaths of the population are in favor or green technology and products. In fact, the desire by Europeans and Americans for renewable energy options was absolutely overwhelming. A Harris poll found that support for wind farms to produce electricity was supported by large majorities, from 90 percent in Spain to 87 percent in the United States and 77 percent in France. Even taxpayer-provided financial support for the development of biofuels was heavily favored. Government subsidies for promoting the production and use of biofuels were favored by 77 percent Italians, 76 percent of Spaniards, and 60 percent of Americans.

If people are generally so supportive of green technology, even at taxpayer expense, why then are eco-friendly and green products not selling better? Part of the problem may be with labeling, which can be confusing at best and downright misleading at worst. What does the labeling of green or eco-friendly really mean? Most consumers do not have a clear idea.

green car

However, the larger problem is much easier to understand. The perception of consumers is that products labeled green and eco-friendly simply cost too much, and consumers are not willing to pay a premium. At least not yet. When asked how much more they would be willing to pay for renewable energy, the typical response was either noting more or only about 5% more. This schizophrenic attitude, that taxpayer-funded subsidies for green technology were supported but paying even a small premium for green technology was not, was broadly seen across Europe and the United States.

Furthermore, the response for biofuels were largely mirrored by people when asked about other green products. The polling data showed that 66% of consumers agree with the statement “The environmentally friendly alternatives for many of the products I use are too expensive.” This response was given in parallel with the response of 71% of consumers who also felt that “It is important that companies take environmentally responsible actions.”

What is a marketer of green products to do? There is increasing data that the biggest motivator to get consumers to go green” is to play on one of the most basic of human emotions: embarrassment. Peer pressure, it seems, actually works. If you believe that your neighbor is taking steps to go green, you are more likely to do so yourself. Coupled with this fact is another nugget. Guilt also works. Make someone feel guilty for not going green and you may have more success in getting that person to part with some money for green products.

Article Source: wrote by Steve Stillwater

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