A new study from by Ipsos Marketing shows that global consumers care about the state of the natural world, but still relish the conveniences of the modern world.
The study, entitled 'Consumer Goods', revealed that many consumers are taking the environment into account in their daily behaviour and purchasing decisions, but are weighing the impact on convenience as well.
According to Amaury de Conde, SVP for Ipsos Marketing, "This suggests that most consumers want to do their part in protecting the environment, but on their own terms. Consumers are more open to taking part in 'green' activities that save them money and are simple and easy. However, they are less likely to be proactive about protecting the environment if it requires giving up major conveniences such as modern appliances or even minor conveniences such as individual-size food packages and plastic bags."
Nearly all of the respondents in the global study were likely to take, or continue to take, actions in the next six months to protect the environment.
Behaviour such as reusing jars and containers (51%), buying products with recyclable packaging (50%), using dish cloths and sponges instead of paper towels (49%), and reducing usage of paper plates and plastic cups (48%) and single-serve plastic bottles (45%) led the way.
But consumers were less likely to limit their use of dishwashers or washing machines and driers, or cut back on their usage of individual-size packaging and plastic bags. And they were also less enthusiastic about buying less bulky packaging if it was less convenient to use, looking for alternatives to cleaning products that use toxic chemicals, and using economy-size packaging.
According to de Conde, offering food, beverage, and household goods containers that are re-usable can provide environmental as well as cost-saving benefits to the consumer. But validating consumers' use of paper goods, like paper towels, paper plates, and paper and plastic cups will become increasingly challenging.
In addition, consumers want packaging to be recyclable, yet they are wary of using economy sizes and other packaging alternatives that might interfere with the convenience of the product. Marketers must ensure that the steps they are taking to develop innovative, environmentally friendly products and packaging will meet consumers' thresholds for convenience and value.