Consumers do not automatically accept green claims made in advertisements. In fact, the Burst survey found one in five (22.7%) respondents say they seldom or never believe green claims made in advertisements. Two-thirds (65.3%) of respondents say they "sometimes" believe green claims made in advertisements, and 12.1% say they "always" believe green advertising claims. Skeptical consumers want to be able to investigate claims, and many do. Burst's survey found that 41.6% of consumers frequently or occasionally research the claims made in green advertisements, with only 30.1% refraining from any further research.
The Burst survey found that four out of five (79.6%) respondents use the Internet to conduct personal research on green initiatives and products. The survey also found that many respondents find the availability of corporate information on green and environmentally safe products and services lacking. Burst's survey showed that 41.6% would rate corporate information as only average and many others would rate the information as fair (20.8%) or poor (17.2%).
The Burst survey also revealed several interesting findings about the green consumer. These include:
- Green is a goal of many, attained by few: More than four out of five (81.9%) respondents have incorporated some level of green activity into their lives - only 12.9% are "not green at all". Although most respondents have integrated green activity into their daily lives, few (5.2%) are "completely green". In fact most respondents are "aspirationally green" - a plurality (43.9%) incorporate a few things that are green into their daily lives but "have a long way to go", and another 38.0% attempt to be "as green as possible, but not 100%".
- Varied reasons for pursuing Green activities - The motivators to go green are many, but respondents most frequently cite "good for the environment" as the reason they include green behavior in their daily lives. Other reasons cited for going green include to impact the future", "to live a better quality of life", good for the community (32.5%), desire to make a difference (31.2%), desire for a healthy body (29.8%), and desire to live simply and use less (29.2%).
An intriguing survey result is the reason stated for why the "aspirationally green" and "completely green" segments have adopted these behaviors. Three out of five respondents who are "aspirationally green" cite "good for the environment" as a reason for going green - clearly the leader among all reasons offered. However, among the "completely green" segment the top reason for going green is "to live a better quality of life": followed by "good for the environment".
- Disparate Green topics motivate online research: Survey data showed that consumers research many different green topics. The most popular online green content is recycling information, and healthy recipes. These are followed by information on alternative energy sources, natural remedies, eco-friendly cleaning products, green technologies, nature/outdoor recreation, tips for simple living, gardening/organic gardening, and organic foods.
"Businesses that can support their claims in their green messaging and sustainability topics in a way that incorporates the consumer in the conversation are at an advantage in the marketplace," said Jarvis Coffin, CEO of Burst Media. "In providing information that is accessible, transparent and easy for consumers to share, businesses have the opportunity to reach consumers in relation to a core personal value."
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