Consumers crave green services as well as products

Consumers are just as interested in patronising ‘green’ services, including the environmental impact of businesses, as they are about purchasing ‘green’ products, according to latest Mintel research. It found consumer interest in ‘green’ services has doubled from 2008-2010.

Forty-four percent of consumers currently consider the ‘greenness’ of their grocery store, and agree the environmental impact of the business factors into their purchasing decision, say researchers.

Meanwhile, 34% of consumers saying they take into account the ‘greenness’ of their dry cleaner, compared to just 12% in 2008; and 29% are concerned about the ‘greenness’ of a hotel they plan to visit, compared to the 13% who reported as much in 2008.

“The rapid increase in consumer interest was likely facilitated by increased availability of ‘greener’ alternatives in many service industries and increased marketing of green practices by service providers,” said Fiona O’Donnell, senior analyst at Mintel. “Marketing relating to environmental issues, large and small, is now a common practice by hotels, dry cleaners, and home improvement contractors.”

Consumers are also concerned about how companies define ‘green.’ Forty percent of consumers would prefer to purchase ‘green’ products from a company that has a clear set of standards for what exactly ‘green’ is. Meanwhile, 29% of those surveyed believe the government should mandate companies adhere to a rigorous set of ‘green’ standards.

“Less than half of consumers say they don’t know how to verify a company’s claim they’re ‘green,’ and that number has declined compared to 2008,” said O’Donnell.

“Improved transparency by companies about their environmental behavior has been effective in helping consumers understand and feel more confident about ‘green’ claims.”

In line with consumer interest, availability of ‘green’ products has increased as well, as 54% of consumers say more ‘green’ products are available at their favourite stores than a year ago.