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Green Consumer Demographics

Energy savings appeal to much of the US online population.

June 23, 2008

Like many marketers, purveyors of environmentally focused products and services tend to concentrate on youth demographics. After all, these younger generations are growing up in a culture steeped in environmental awareness.

Burst Media noted that US Internet users ages 18 to 24 had a greater tendency to fully integrate green behavior into their daily lifestyles than did their older counterparts. Nearly 10% of respondents in that age group said they "completely" incorporated environmentalism into their lives. The group ages 25 to 34 ranked second-highest, at 6.3%, while other groups hovered in the 3% to 5% range.

Degree to which US Adult Internet Users Incorporate Green* Behavior in Daily Lifestyle, by Age, March 2008 (% of respondents in each group)

It should be noted that the Burst survey categorized its responses according to the degree to which people adopted eco-friendly habits, and the vast majority of respondents across all age groups put themselves in the "somewhat" category—leaving open the possibility that different perceptions among respondents of "somewhat" and "completely" could color the survey findings.

A JupiterResearch study of US teen Internet users found that green teens, who are especially concerned about or committed to environmental causes, were noticeably more likely than other teens to engage in e-commerce, visit movie or mobile content Websites, participate in chat rooms and use digital photo services.

Online Activities of US

This finding correlates greenness with overall engagement in new technologies and online social behavior. Any marketer seeking to connect with the teen audience should take note of the potentially powerful link between environmental sensitivity and a willingness to use online channels for e-commerce, social networking, and content consumption and sharing.

Despite this correlation between youth and environmental consciousness, other studies have noted that older Internet users are more likely to take specific measures to curtail their consumption of resources.

A Harris Interactive poll of US Internet users' environmental activities found that mature respondents (ages 63 and older) were the most likely group to engage in energy reduction in their homes, purchase energy-efficient appliances, buy more locally grown food and break their bottled water habits. Further, in the first two of those categories, the second-most-active group was the baby boomer generation (ages 44 to 62).

Select Environmentally Conscious Activities* of US Adult Internet Users, by Age, April 2008 (% of respondents)

A 2007 survey of the shopping behaviors of US baby boomers by AARP and Focalyst found that 70% of respondents—an estimated 40 million boomers—use their purchasing power to buy environmentally safe brands.

These "green boomers" are more demanding of quality in the products and services they buy, more attuned to advertising and more likely to exercise brand loyalty than other members of their generation, according to AARP and Focalyst.

"We anticipate that as time goes on, more and more boomer shoppers will simply expect brands to be eco-friendly," said Heather Stern, director of marketing at Focalyst, in a statement. "Rather than this being a point of brand differentiation, it will be a price of entry."

To learn more about the state of green marketing, get your copy of the new eMarketer report, Green Online: Growing Awareness, today.


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