Lower-Income Consumers More Likely to Pay Extra for Green Products

One marketing study finds that income level does not determine how likely a consumer is to buy green products.


From the department of counterintuitive news: One marketing study (PDF) has found that lower-income consumers, rather than affluent consumers, are more likely to pay a premium for green products. So much for recession thrift, right?

Though the headline is contrary to what we'd expect, there's a perfectly good reason that lower earners would pay more for green products, and it lies in the study's methodology: the low earners surveyed are part of underemployed Gen Y (The study, an internet poll taken by a consulting firm, presumably could not capture the opinions of low-income consumers without internet access). States the report:  "Our research also indicated that lower income shoppers are more willing to pay a 10 cent premium compared to middle and upper income groups. This may be heavily influenced by the number of green-minded Millennials who may make up a disproportionate percentage of the lower income bracket because of their recent entry into the workforce."

While half of all shoppers surveyed said that they were willing to pay from 10 cents to 70 cents more for a green household product, age and gender affected how much the consumer would pay. Women and Milennials don't mind spending their green on green, but Boomers do. Across all demographics and income groups, consumers said they could use more information about the greening of their products - a response that shows how we're wising up to greenwashing, and getting savvier about getting what we pay for.