Young Chinese consumers going green

15 March 2010

BEIJING: Young consumers in China are becoming increasingly interested in the environmental credentials of brands, a new survey has revealed.

Greennovate, the environmental consultancy, and Enovate, the research firm, surveyed 400 people aged 15–27 years old in the Asian nation, 40% of which lived in Tier 1 cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

As the study utilised a range of social networks, like Neocha and Douban, and influential websites and blogs, it was predicted that this panel would feature a large number of "socially engaged" members.

Personal health and wellness was regarded as the number one priority among respondents, with a good education and a healthy diet among their other main concerns overall.

Having a family, working in a positive environment and holidays were also all afforded a greater degree of importance than enjoying considerable purchasing power or owning a car.

Almost a quarter of contributors agreed that the main way they learned about a brand's "green" status was via advertising.

Product packaging, information form specialist third-party organisations, user-generated content and official company websites were other factors that played a role in this area.

Moreover, 58% of the sample "make the effort to verify claims of environmental friendliness if they are in doubt", with most using the net to try and locate relevant material.

This demographic also "reward" products that are found to deliver on their eco-friendly promises, with over 30% spreading favourable word-of-mouth among their friends and family.

A fifth of this cohort shared their views online, with other popular responses including getting involved in the "cause" advocated by the brand in question, and increased purchase levels.

"There is a misperception in the values and ideals of Chinese youth: they value health and education more than fast-paced, spend-thrift lifestyles," the Greenovate/Enovate study concluded.

"There is a lack of easily available indicators on what is green, but Chinese youth are doing their homework online, so building trust through transparency for brands is essential."

Data sourced from Greenovate; additional content by Warc staff