Navigating the Kaleidoscope of Green Moms
By Stacy DeBroff
For many years, we’ve seen the evolution of “Green Moms” – women who eschewed the convenience and accessibility of traditional products and who chose instead to look toward the environment or the health of their families when selecting products. From searching for natural ingredients on product labels in the grocery store to ensuring cleaning and home décor items offered the best ingredients for their families, these Moms have redefined the path to purchase. In January 2015, Influence Central surveyed a panel of nearly 1,000 highly targeted Moms with at least one child under the age of 18 living at home for their attitudes on “green.” We’ve highlighted our findings below:
“LIGHT” GREEN ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS
Consumers self-segment into one of three levels of green, from Uber Green to Un-Green, and the segment we’ve named “Green… But.” This “Green… But” group proves one that many families identify with because they are green in behavior but do not self-report as such. And though they shop green, they aren’t hoping to save the world, but instead just want to protect their families.
The Uber Green self-report as very green (47%). They readily refer to themselves as a “Green Mom” (99%). They mostly rely on DIY and green store-bought cleaning products and are more than likely to do so to protect both their family and the environment from harsh chemicals. 87% of these women always try to use “Earth-Friendly” practices. They could be considered green advocates – they are knowledgeable environmentalists and true believers in living green.
The Un-Green (14%) self-report as Not at All Green. These consumers are more likely to rely on store-bought, conventional, and heavy-duty cleaning products for their homes. This un-greenness translates to other shopping areas as well; they are less likely to look for or purchase natural products or organic food. Three-quarters of these Moms also admit they are less likely to have knowledge or expertise on environmentally friendly products and place little value in developing that insight. Only 16% try to use “Earth-friendly” practices or would consider themselves to be a “Green Mom.”
40% fall within the mid-range of greenness. They would not consider themselves to be “Green” consumers, nor self-identify with a label of green, yet as consumers they exhibit green purchasing tendencies. Though this group does not make green purchasing decisions from an environmental perspective, they do make them from a “healthy family” perspective. This is an important note – the green choices being made by this cohort reflect a deeper concern about their own personal health choices, not about what’s best for the environment. Thus, they are green but only when it benefits their lives as consumers. The decision process employed is one based on a personal view of how products and solutions can best help at the consumer level, without conversations about preserving or protecting the environment.
Whereas the greenest of green consumers most often act in the best interests of the environment, the “Green in the Store” consumers act in the best interest of their families – and are most concerned with the thought of bringing toxic and harsh chemicals into the home.
THE MYTH OF GREEN
Interestingly, when we further analyzed attitudinal and psychographic green behaviors across consumers, we uncovered a deeper truth – the green label is a misnomer. Consumers are hesitant to refer to themselves as green, yet exhibit green tendencies when it comes to their family’s health.
91% of consumers purchase green products because they are concerned about their family’s health.
70% agree they have knowledge and expertise on environmentally friendly products.
72% purchase foods specifically labeled Natural or Organic.
Nearly 68% would consider themselves a “Green Mom.”
79% are often on the lookout for eco-friendly new products for the home.
These green tendencies reflect green shopping experiences:
68% say they always seek out green cleaning products.
73% often do research to understand the safety of ingredients to which their family is exposed.
When the 68% mentioned above actively seek out green cleaning products, this tells us Moms are searching for products that take care of their cleaning needs while doing so in non-toxic and healthy ways.
Though less than half of consumers self-identify as “Very Green,” 56% of all consumers admit they mostly use cleaning products labeled as green or natural for their home. This behavioral admittance skews more powerfully than their self-identification. Consumers are green not by self-description but in practice. Their buying behaviors belie green tendencies, and when faced with a choice at a supermarket or a mass retailer, they will be inclined to shop green.
Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, is a social media strategist, attorney, and best-selling author. A frequent national and international speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.