Retrevo recently completed a study of consumers buying behavior when it comes to green products. Of course most consumers (75%) claim that buying green products is important to them. But majority of them aren't willing to pay a premium to buy them -- a staggering 35% consumers said they would be unwilling to pay any premium whatsoever, more than 50% won't pay more than 5% premium and 75% won't pay more than 10% premium. Now some of this is probably due to the current economy but there is lot of reality to this sentiment. While CE industry has been focusing on the disposal aggressively as evidenced in the latest article I saw in Twice -- partly due to regulatory pressure and partly due to them getting low marks from non-profits constantly (putting a dent on their credibility), little has been done to fix the fundamental issue -- the front end of the process.
How do you incentivize consumers to buy green products in the first place? Bringing the price premium to within 5% (or even 10%) will be a great first step. Making an investment there will go a long way in making this planet a safer place to live for generations to come. Regulatory mandates won't work well as they will simply make these technology products more expensive for consumers. CE brands need to commit to some of this investment especially at the low-to-mid range of these products (where prices can influence a consumer's purchase decision dramatically). How about gov't making an investment to promote this -- a short term fix to incentivize consumers while we work on expensive longer term solutions.
It has been done elsewhere. Just look at what Silicon Valley Power has done with their rebates program that I remember has been in existence for more than 6-7 years. We just need to come up with such a program at the national level...Consumers will buy green products, with the right incentive and we all can play a little part...
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