Seventy-five percent of US adults report purchasing green products and services this year, compared to 78% in 2013, according to Harris poll commissioned by SCA; 40% willing to pay more for such products
July 14, 2014
– Sixth Annual Tork Green Business Survey observes generational shifts in green purchasing behaviors and attitudes
While green products and services continue to be top-of-mind for Americans, Millennials are emerging as some of the most committed purchasers of sustainable products and services. Today, SCA, the maker of the Tork® brand of away-from-home hygiene products in North America, shares this finding as part of its annual survey on consumer green purchasing behaviors and attitudes in the United States. As an international leader in creating an ethical and sustainable marketplace, SCA commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults (aged 18+) in April 2014 to capture in-the-moment consumer insights.
"The results of this year's survey were surprising in a number of ways," said Mike Kapalko, sustainability marketing manager for SCA's North American away-from-home professional hygiene business. "In the past, we've seen macro trends capturing an overall increase in green purchasing and behavior. However this year, the data tells a more nuanced story. Millennials continue to emerge as core supporters of green products and services, and they are willing to pay more to buy green. This finding is particularly important for businesses when you look at how consumer purchasing is set to shift in the coming years."
While Boomers are entering retirement age and could be scaling back spending, Accenture projects that the nearly 80 million Millennials in the United States will account for 30 percent of retail purchasing by 2020. This demographic shift will have major implications for businesses across all industries, especially as it relates to sustainability.
"Brands and companies looking to develop strong relationships with Millennial consumers should focus on how to improve sustainability practices, as well as how to communicate those accomplishments," continued Kapalko. "If the trends continue, transparent sustainability practices also will continue to be in demand, and early adopters could have a competitive advantage."
Changes in purchasing behavior
According to the survey, 75 percent of American adults reported purchasing green products/services. This represents a slight decrease in purchasing from last year, when 78 percent of Americans reported green purchases. Though the overall percentage of individuals making green purchases has decreased slightly, Millennials were consistent year-over-year. Notably, Millennials, age 18-34, who purchase green products/services are significantly more likely (27 percent) to have increased the number of green products and services they buy compared to adults ages 35-44 (18 percent) and adults ages 45+ (15 percent).
Additionally, among those who purchase green products/services and have a child under 18 years old in the household, 15 percent of reported a reduction in green purchasing.
Willingness to pay more
Though cost may impact purchasing decisions, the survey results show many consumers are committed to pay more for sustainable services and products if needed. In the U.S., 40 percent of adults are willing to pay more for products if ethical and responsible manufacturing practices are guaranteed. Millennial adults aged 18-34 are significantly more likely (56 percent) to pay more than older consumers aged 35+ (34 percent).
Motivations for going green
The majority of U.S. consumers who purchase green products/services do so for environmental reasons (54 percent), however, proportionally more adults aged 35+ identified this as their primary motivator (60 percent) than 18-34-year-old adults (38 percent). Meanwhile, Millennials are much more motivated by health benefits (24 percent) versus older adults aged 35-64 (13 percent).
Looking forward, consumers predict growth in green
When asked about their opinion of "green" products and services, 41 percent of American adults say that it is really just getting started, whereas only 11 percent believe green is just a fad and will go away at some point.
For more information or to request a copy of the full study, please contact Anna Kruchowski (952) 346-6071 or email@example.com
Harris Poll fielded the study (via its QuickQuery℠ online omnibus service) on behalf of SCA from April 15-17th, 2014, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,051 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. Since the poll is not based on a probability sample, no theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, please request a full copy of the survey results.
The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, and industrial and kitchen wipers. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader. Tork is a global brand of SCA, and a committed partner to customers in over 80 countries. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit: torkusa.com or tork.ca.
In North America, SCA produces the Tork® line of dispensers, towels, tissue, soap, napkins and wipers used in commercial settings such as office buildings, restaurants, schools and healthcare facilities and the TENA® line of incontinence care products used by consumers at home and in healthcare facilities. TENA and Tork are the global leading brands in their categories. For more information visit www.sca.com/us.
Globally, SCA is a leading hygiene and forest products company. We develop and produce sustainable personal care, tissue and forest products. Sales are conducted in about 100 countries under many strong brands, including the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and many regional brands. As Europe's largest private forest owner, we put great emphasis on sustainable forest management. SCA has about 36,000 employees. Sales in 2012 amounted to $13 billion. SCA was founded in 1929, has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm stock exchange. More information at www.sca.com
SCA delivers sustainable solutions with added value for our customers from safe, resource efficient and environmentally sound sourcing, production and development. Recent third party accreditations for the SCA sustainability work include Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2012, the WWF Environmental Paper Company Index 2013, and Ethisphere – World's most ethical companies 2014.