Warc Blog

Green pricing loses customers

13 November 2013
GLOBAL: Around half of consumers globally say they care about what brands are doing to help the environment, but fewer people are prepared to pay more for green brands, a new survey has revealed.

Ipsos OTX, the global innovation centre for market research firm Ipsos, polled 18,503 adults in 24 countries and found that 52% of respondents expressed concerns over brands' environmental efforts, scoring them a four or five on a five-point scale, but just 38% were willing to pay a premium for green or environmentally friendly products.

This pattern was evident in every country bar one. Chinese consumers were on a par with the global average as regards their attitudes towards brands and the environment but 58% agreed they would pay more.

It is a trend also noted by Jack Ma, founder of the internet business Alibaba. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, he argued that China's environmental crisis affected everyone and that everyone, business included, had to make a contribution. "Why complain about what government should or should not do while remaining passive?" he asked.

Those countries most likely to agree they cared about the efforts of brands to help the environment included Argentina (70%), Mexico (68%), Indonesia (66%), South Africa (62%), Germany (60%), India (60%), Turkey (60%) and Brazil (59%).

A middle-tier group included Italy (54%), Canada (52%), China (52%), South Korea (52%), Australia (51%), Norway (51%), Spain (51%) and the US (51%).

Those most skeptical of brand efforts were Sweden (50%), Saudi Arabia (49%), France (46%), Great Britain (46%), Hungary (46%), Belgium (45%), Russia (44%), Poland (38%) and Japan (17%).

The willingness of consumers to pay more for green products followed a similar pattern, with those most likely to coming from Indonesia (59%), India (59%), China (58%), Turkey (54%), Argentina (52%), Mexico (50%), Brazil (50%) and Saudi Arabia (43%).

A middle pack of broadly neutral nations included Norway (42%), South Korea (41%), Sweden (41%), South Africa (40%), Germany (35%), Canada (32%), the United States (32%) and Russia (32%).

And those most resistant to paying a green premium were from Hungary (30%), Italy (29%), Australia (29%), Spain (28%), France (27%), Great Britain (26%), Belgium (25%), Poland (22%) and Japan (13%).

Data sourced from Ipsos OTX, Harvard Business Review; additional content by Warc staff

 
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