New TNS research shows a mismatch between how ‘green’ some brands are seen by consumers, and how eco-friendly their practices actually are. The study ranks consumer brands from 15 categories against each other across seven European markets. It identifies key drivers to this disconnect, including the ‘brand halo effect’ and whether a product is intrinsically natural or healthy.
One example of the brand halo effect applies to Apple, which consistently scored highly across all seven markets in terms of how green it was perceived by consumers, despite having a business model which has encouraged regular handset replacement.
Other well-performing brands have an association with being natural or healthy. Evian and Volvic both scored consistently highly across the seven markets, despite the harmful effect of plastic water bottles on the environment.
According to the new study from TNS, 95% of people say that protecting the environment is important to them. The research explores European consumers’ attitudes to the environment and their willingness to play a part in its protection by buying eco-friendly products. With 4 in every 5 people now buy environmentally friendly products, the results show that in the past 5 years, engagement in eco-activity by individuals has doubled[i].
However, peoples’ attitudes and behaviours appear to be disconnected. While 87% say they think they personally can play a part in helping the environment, only a quarter say they buy environmentally friendly products ‘often’.
These consumer attitudes to environmentally friendly products have also been researched by TNS and four distinct consumer groups[ii] were identified. The largest group (38%) are ‘Concerned Citizens’ who are willing to pay, compared with the 22% who are ‘Priced Out’, who would like to pay but are price sensitive. ‘Product Sceptics’ (19%) are concerned about the environment but unconvinced of the effectiveness of environmentally friendly products. While 22% are ‘Issue Sceptics’ who believe environmental dangers are overstated.
UK Board Director Phil Sutcliffe says: “The research showed that consumers feel their efforts are small scale when compared to business and governments. Smaller everyday actions seem insignificant in the face of man-made and natural disasters.”
Notes to editors
The study explores consumers’ perceptions of how green a brand is through its efforts to be environmentally friendly. It covers 15 industry sectors from supermarkets through to airlines. Research was undertaken by TNS and took place in September 2013 across Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the UK with a country sample of approximately 2000 per country. Total sample size was 14,000.
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[i] Data is compared with TNS Eurobarometer, 2007
[ii] European average scores
TNS UK advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world's consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com/uk for more information.
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