April 04, 2012 17:27 ET

Enthusiasm for Environmentally Safe Products on the Wane, According to GfK MRI

Young Adults Buck Trend -- Still Willing to Pay More for Green Products

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Apr 4, 2012) - While U.S. consumers may think and talk green, they do not necessarily back up these sentiments by putting their money where their mouths are, according to the latest consumer intelligence from the GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer™.

While 65% of American adults agree with the statement "preserving the environment is very important," only 31% of adults purchased environmentally friendly or "green" household products in the last 12 months. The top three environmentally-friendly products purchased by U.S. adults are light bulbs (18%), paper towels (12%) and laundry detergent (11%). In addition, only 22% of consumers who remodeled their homes in the last 12 months said they used environmentally friendly/"green" products for their renovation.

Green Product Purchases
U.S. Consumers Who Purchased Environmentally Friendly/"Green" Household Products in the last 12 months...
% Of Adults
Any Environmentally Friendly Product 31%
Light bulbs 18%
Paper towels 12%
Laundry detergent 11%
Toilet paper 11%
All purpose household cleaner 10%
Paper Plates 8%
Glass/Surface Cleaners 7%
Source: GfK MRI Fall 2011 Survey of the American Consumer

Moreover, data from the last five years indicate that consumers are now less likely to pay more or give up convenience for green products. For instance, the percentage of U.S. adults who agreed with the statement "I am willing to give up convenience in return for a product that is environmentally safe" declined 16% in the past five years, from 56% in 2007 to 47% in 2011. Likewise, the percentage of adults who report "I am willing to pay more for a product that is environmentally safe" declined 13%, from 60% to 52%, in the last five years.

Shifting Green Attitudes
Percent of U.S. Consumers who agree with the following statements...
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Decline '07-11
I am willing to give up convenience for a product that is environmentally safe. 56% 57% 52% 47% 47% -16%
I am willing to pay more for a product that is environmentally safe. 60% 60% 55% 53% 52% -13%
Source: GfK MRI Fall 2007-2011 Survey of the American Consumer
Agree=Agree Mostly/Agree Somewhat

Consumers aged 18-24 are the only adult age group whose willingness to give up convenience or pay more for green products has held steady over the past five years. In addition, 53% of consumers aged 18-24 recycle products and 4% participated in environmental groups/causes in the past 12 months.

"It seems that perhaps many people's worries have shifted to their own needs versus those of the greater good -- not uncommon during an economic crisis when livelihoods have been compromised or threatened," said Anne Marie Kelly, EVP Marketing & Strategic Planning at GfK MRI. "On a more positive note, our data indicate that the youngest adults still have their green mindsets and behaviors intact."

About GfK MRI

GfK MRI has a singular goal: to provide the clearest and most detailed view of American consumers -- who they are, what they buy, how they think, and the best ways to reach them. Founded in 1979, GfK MRI is the country's leading provider of magazine audience ratings, multimedia research data and penetrating insights into consumers' behavior and motivations.

When conducting its national Survey of the American Consumer™, GfK MRI interviews approximately 26,000 U.S. adults in their homes each year. In face-to-face interviews and written surveys, consumers are asked about their use of media, their consumption of more than 6,000 products in 550 categories, their lifestyles and their attitudes. Because the Survey of the American Consumer is structured as an area probability study, the results are projectable to the entire U.S. adult population. The Survey also serves as a foundation for an array of innovative GfK MRI research products that answer the market's need for granular, cross-media and consumer-focused information.

GfK MRI is part of The GfK Group, based in Nuremberg, Germany. GfK is one of the world's largest research companies, with 11,000 GfK experts working to discover new insights about the way people live, think, and shop in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating to use the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest undertanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2012, GfK's sales amounted to EUR 1.29 billion.

For further information on GfK MRI, visit our Web site: And, follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Contact Information

    Anne Marie Kelly
    EVP, Marketing and Strategic Planning
    GfK MRI
    Email Contact

    Steve Ellwanger
    Press Counsel Group
    Email Contact


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