Green Consumers – An Attractive Emerging Market

By A. Lee

Last week, Forrester Research fielded an exciting report ‘The Emerging Green Technology Consumer’ which concluded that “Consumer Electronics Companies Should Design And Market Environmentally Responsible Products And Services”.

The Forrester survey (of 5,000 adults) identified 3 distinct segments of US technology consumers:

  • The Bright Greens, 12 % of US adults.

    Looking with Green Eyes - photo by Ramzi Hashisho

    “These consumers are concerned about the environment and strongly agree that they would pay more for consumer electronics products that save energy or come from a company that is environmentally responsible.”

    These Bright Greens are “the vanguard of an emerging consumer market segment that will be an attractive target for technology companies.” concludes Forrester.

  • Green Consumers, 41 % of US adults. “These 90 million consumers share concerns about environmental issues, but do not strongly agree that they would pay more for environmentally friendly products.”
  • Non-greens, remaining 47 % of US adults. “The rest of the population, 96 million Americans, do not (yet) share the greens’ concerns about the environment or global warming.” finds the study.

    Where Are The Opportunities?

    There are really 2 strategic opportunities:
    1. OVERALL STRATEGIC GREEN LEADERSHIP

    “The green leadership position is open: Which manufacturer will create the iconic ‘Prius’ product in consumer electronics?” said Forrester Research Senior Vice President Christopher Mines.

    The market study finds that many of the major consumer electronic companies have taken “early steps to green their operations and products.”

    “But moving forward, marketers and designers of consumer technology products and services will change product marketing and product design to embrace green principles like energy efficiency, lower-impact manufacturing, longer product life cycles, and recycleability.” says the Forrester report.

    The International Institute for Sustainable Development at bsdglobal.com shares complementary research findings. Their research concludes that green consumers “lack knowledge about environmental issues, and tend not to trust themselves to evaluate scientific information about environmental impacts.

    However, at the same time they are eager to learn, and this means that consumer education is one of the most effective strategies” that companies can use.

    2. GREEN NICHE MARKETING

    “All the green efforts of consumer technology manufacturers so far have been one-size-fits-all: They are not targeted at a particular segment of consumers, but apply across the board to a company’s products, manufacturing, and supply chain,” said Mines.

    “We fully expect green technology consumers to further emerge as a target segment for style-conscious electronics manufacturers as the industry moves beyond beige-box design.”

    Furthermore, as Business & Sustainable Development, bsdglobal.com, points out two additional important factors:

  • “In the US, children and teens are generally more concerned than adults about the environment, and are more knowledgeable about green alternatives. Increasingly, they influence their parents’ purchasing decisions.”
  • “Equally importantly, millions of them will reach adulthood in the next decade, and gain purchasing power of their own.” — A New Green Adult market emerging!