A new survey has revealed the extent of the gap between Australian shoppers’ green intentions and their purchasing decisions when it comes to CE goods.The study by Macquarie University commissioned as part of the Panasonic Chair in Environmental Sustainability initiative, has found that although 75 percent of consumers consider environmental features ahead of buying goods, only 20 percent actually purchased products with eco credentials.
The study looked at consumers’ purchasing behaviours across key electronic goods, including TVs, air-conditioners, washing machines and digital cameras.
Professor Tim Flannery, Panasonic Chair in Environmental Sustainability, Macquarie University, said getting consumers to buy green, as well as think green was critical to improving environmental outcomes.
“Awareness of environmental issues is extremely high and our next challenge is to turn that into everyday action,” Professor Flannery said.
The study, which surveyed around 2000 Australian consumers, found that eco features accounted for only between 11-20 percent of purchase intent, depending on the type of product being considered.
Sales of household appliances such as washing machines scored highly in terms of being chosen for their green credentials, but home entertainment products like TVs scored low in terms of eco intent.
Younger consumers also valued eco features more than their older counterparts.
Steve Rust, Managing Director, Panasonic Australia said the results were disheartening for many companies who had invested in developing better environmentally performing products.
“The message just isn’t translating into action. Consumers are making all of the right noises but at the end of the day they just aren’t buying green – at least with consumer electronics,” Mr Rust said.
“The single best thing we can do to encourage more businesses to adopt better environmental behaviour is to make it more commercially attractive. We simply have to work out what is stopping consumers from buying green and overcome it.”
Panasonic estimates that it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions from a household by 65% in three-to-five years by increasing the energy efficiency of devices and reducing the power consumption of the entire house.
Rust said the study would be used by Panasonic to develop product and marketing strategies for Australia and other markets later this year.
In January, the company showcased a range of new products that created energy (household fuel cells and solar power generators), stored energy (household Lithium-Ion battery systems), saved energy (LED lighting and energy efficient Plasma televisions), and managed energy (Smart Energy gateways) at CES in Las Vegas. It also previewed its latest electric vehicle (EV) technologies including car battery systems and an EV charging station which contribute to realising a green lifestyle driven by EVs.
Professor Flannery said: “People are going to continue to purchase and use products such as consumer electronics and need to make sure they’re making the best possible decisions.”