May 31, 2012
Thirty-one percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they take environmental issues into consideration when making purchases, according to Harris Interactive, a number that has risen from 24 percent in 2010 and 22 percent in 2009.
Harris Interactive surveyed 2,451 US adults ages 18 and older, and found that while concern and awareness around environmental issues has slipped since 2009, this hasn’t affected how consumers say environmental issues influence their purchasing behavior. The exception is young adults, ages 18 to 24, who are actually more likely to consider the environment in their spending than before.
In 2012, US adults are now less likely to do each of the following in their daily life:
A quarter of US adults (26 percent) say that environmental issues are either “extremely” or “very” important to them when deciding which products or services to purchase. This number, according to the poll, remains consistent across gender, geography, education and income. The percentage has moved little over the years: 27 percent of US adults said environmental issues were extremely or very important to their purchasing decisions in 2010 and 26 percent said the same in 2009.
- Reuse things they have instead of throwing them away or buying new items (65 percent in 2009 vs. 61 percent in 2012).
- Make an effort to use less water (60 percent in 2009 vs. 57 percent in 2010 and 2012).
- Buy food in bulk (33 percent in 2009 vs. 30 percent in 2012)
- Purchase all-natural products (18 percent in 2009 vs. 16 percent in 2012).
- Purchase organic products (17 percent in 2009 vs. 15 percent in 2010 and 2012).
Americans also show a preference for products and services that are “green,” with 79 percent seeking out green products, slightly up from 78 percent in 2010 and 76 percent in 2009. Additionally, 31 percent of US adults say they are willing to pay extra for a “green product,” up from 28 percent in 2010. Thirty-two percent said the same in 2009.
Again, 18- to 24-year-olds show the biggest change: 35 percent say they are willing to pay extra for a green product, an increase from 27 percent in 2010 and 25 percent in 2009. Although just four percent of all US adults seek out green products and services regardless of the cost—virtually unchanged from 3 percent in 2010 and 2009 – the 18- to 24-year-old age group is at 11 percent, far above the three percent of 18- to 24-year-olds who said the same in 2010 and 2009. Still, 51 percent of this youngest age group say they are not willing to pay extra for green products.
More than 70 percent of consumers say they worry more about price than whether a product is good for the environment, according to an October 2010 study by the Harrison Group.