Published on September 9th, 2008 | by Maryanne Conlin5
Surprise, Surprise – Youth Not Leaders in The Green Movement
While twentysomethings may be the cheerleaders of the green movement, a new report from i-com reveals that the ranks of actual users of green products are grey haired and wrinkled.
Both male and female groups 55 years and over reported above average usage of environmentally friendly home goods. Leading the way was the 55-59 year-old female demographic, who was more than twice as likely as the average consumer to use green products. Males 65-69 years old were second, more than 1.7 times as likely to use than the average American.
I don’t find this terribly surprising for a number of reasons including what the survey found out: 50% of non-adopters cited high prices as the main factor behind their decision not to purchase green products. As is well know, the bulk of this country’s wealth is concentrated in the baby boomer generation. If you were lucky enough to be born in the first half of the boom (and now find yourself wondering why your kids have such trouble getting ahead in a vastly different economic landscape than the 60s and 70s) then you know what I mean.
For ecopreneurs and other manufacturers of green products this presents a challenge and an opportunity. There is of course no good reason not to target an older, wealthier demographic…especially when they make up such a large part of the US population.
But, if your product or service is meant to appeal mainly to a younger market, the survey authors have some advice:
“Younger demographics are still green, that is, inexperienced when it comes to engaging with environmentally friendly goods,” added Meyers. “The data suggests that targeting these groups with more calculated offers – such as at slightly more aggressive price points, appealing to their personal values or reinforcing the true benefits for the environment – could introduce green products to a new, promising consumer base.”
Well, yes, but I think we know that already…except maybe the part about price point. Many ecopreneurs find themselves reluctant to lower prices to meet the needs of the market. That’s a shame.
While a wholesale relaxing of quality standards is not advised, now might be the time to really take a look at your raw materials. In marketing terms we might say, “Which of these items is a ‘nice-to-have’ and which are ‘need-to-haves’?” The answer to that question and taking the steps to align product with consumer needs might enable you to reach a price point that will bring new, younger consumers into the fold.
Unwilling to relax your quality standards? There are other ways to attract a younger, less well heeled consumer.
– Bringing health concerns to the forefront or rather how your product addresses them
– Offer smaller sizes to meet a lower price point
– Expand the line to include lower price point items gaining a loyal consumer now and hopefully one that will trade up when the economy recovers and/or they get older/ richer.
– Reduce margins. The old saw, “we’ll make it up in volume” really does work…especially if you don’t have stockholders comparing year over year earnings.
– Run (hip) promotions to induce trial by younger consumers
– Tap into the growing social consciousness movement by making real contributions and marketing them well. This takes some strategic thinking and experience as socially aware marketing gimmicks abound. But, a thoughtful, well targeted campaign can be successful.
What have you found has worked for your company?
Photo Credit: andrijbulba at Flickr Under Creative Commons License