Green brands find favour in developing markets

04 June 2010

BEIJING: Consumers in emerging markets such as China and India are the most interested in green brands, a new report has revealed.

National Geographic partnered with Globescan to survey 17,000 adults in 17 countries including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia the UK and US.

In terms of rating purchase habits, the report looked at factors such as whether shoppers would pay a premium for eco-friendly brands, opted against offerings with excessive packaging and regularly bought "used" items.

Indian consumers posted the highest overall score on 61.4%, falling to 56.2% in South Korea, 54.3% in China, 53.8% in Brazil and 53% in Mexico.

Japan was the best-performing advanced market on 51.1%, compared with 46.3% in France, 45.3% in both Germany and the UK and 43.5% in the US.

Measured against two similar studies in 2008 and 2009, respondents in emerging economies like Brazil and Russia are all placing a heightened focus on modifying their behaviour in positive ways.

This was also true of their counterparts in the US, which suggests that the financial crisis has not wholly undermined popular concern about issues like climate change.

Meanwhile, the number of individuals who were buying more pre-owned goods reached 25% across all of the countries assessed.

This figure has jumped by 11% since 2008 among Americans to 35%, with China posting an uptick of 11% to 25%, totals that stood at 21% and 42% in India respectively.

In contrast, 72% of Russians said this was not an area they were interested in pursuing, as did 58% of the Japanese sample and 53% of Spaniards.

However, 39% of the Japanese panel would be happy to spend extra on products boasting strong sustainability credentials, with 46% of Chinese, 47% of Argentines and 42% of Australians saying the same.

Such a view has held by just 20% of Russians, 30% of Indians, 31% of Brazilians and a third of contributors in France and the UK.

Elsewhere, 60% of Indians stated that they bought green brands either "often" or "all of the time", a path followed by 59% of customers in China, 53% in Russia and 46% in Brazil.

Uptake levels came in at 41% in Mexico and 39% in Australia, with the latter of these two nations falling exactly in line with the average across all of the markets featured in the study.

However, only 22% of Japanese participants made frequent purchases of these kinds of products, with the UK on 27%, South Korea on 30% and the US on 31%.

A majority of consumers in China and India “avoided excessively packaged goods”, with over 40% of Russians, Japanese, Germans and South Koreans also choosing to leave these items on store shelves.

These two countries also came out more than 10% ahead of every other nation when it came to consciously ignoring brands they perceived to be detrimental to the environment.

Data sourced from National Geographic; additional content by Warc staff