Environmentally friendly has transcended from a buzzword to a multi-million dollar revenue generator spanning many industries.
According to a "2008 Green Marketing Consumer Study," sponsored by the Sustainable Furnishing Council, half of its respondents are very interested in global warming and have started doing what they can, with the No. 1 action being to buy green products in a variety of categories.
"About 46 percent of respondents said they are very aware and are interested in doing what they can to help the environment, such as recycling at home and using compact fluorescent light bulbs," says Jeff Hiller, marketing chair for the Sustainable Furnishing Council.
The online survey polled 300 female homeowners age 30 to 60 who purchased at least $500 of home furnishings in the past 52 weeks and had incomes above $50,000. "We wanted to zone in on that core furniture buying group," says Hiller. "These are average Americans and the research shows that interest in green home furnishing is very high."
While only 4 percent of respondents have purchased green furnishings, 46 percent haven't because they weren't aware of a green option and 20 percent said it wasn't available, commented Hiller. "People are taking the steps. They haven't done a whole lot in furniture but they would if it was presented to them."
The survey also revealed that consumers are planning to reduce spending on furniture in the next year, restoring an emphasis on long-lasting quality and fair price as significant motivations about equal to style.
Even though new furniture orders were down 17 percent in July 2008 compared to July 2007, according to Furniture Insights, the survey found that 30 percent of consumers would buy green home furnishings if they were available.
"When going after a mainstream market, people will pay up to 10 percent more for a meaningful benefit," says Hiller. "The survey shows that this is a very active group and if manufacturers can deliver a product at a reasonable price, people would be interested."
"While the economy is slow, now is the time for manufacturers to do the research, find supply lines for certified wood and experiment with water-based finishes," says Hiller. "The market for green home furnishings will grow over time, though style, quality and pricing will be the main drivers."
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