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Communicating Green Products to Urban Indian Consumer


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Project findings and recommendations following the research project on 'communicating green products to the Indian consumer' - understanding their perception of green products - presented by Shantanu Roy, Sec.Gen. Green Purchasing Network India

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Communicating Green Products to Urban Indian Consumer

  1. 1. Study conducted by:
  2. 2. Project Supported by Green Purchasing Network India2 Japan Fund for Global Environment International Green Purchasing Network
  3. 3. The Project Green Purchasing Network India3  Consumers, particularly those in Urban belts, reportedly showing strong affinity for green products  Uncertainties related to green products  Challenges to promotion of green products  This study aims to understand challenges and explore solutions for communication and promotion of green products
  4. 4. Some Key Questions Green Purchasing Network India4  What is greenness to an Indian consumer?  What criteria on greenness is the Indian consumer looking for?  What are the barriers perceived by the consumers that deter them from buying green?  Do Indian consumers trust various claims made by product manufacturers? If yes, then up to what extent?  What are the problems faced by the industry in communicating green products to Indian consumers?
  5. 5. Some Facts on Indian Consumer(ism) Green Purchasing Network India5  Real household disposable income has more than doubled since 1985  Middle class has emerged as the predominant consumer in India  Twelfth-largest consumer market today to become the world's fifth-largest consumer market by 2025*  Surveys suggest, Indian consumers, particularly the middle class consumers, have become environmentally more conscious *McKinsey Global Institute
  6. 6. Green Purchasing Network India6  India is the country with the highest Greendex score since 2008  Indian consumers repairing broken items rather than replacing them  choosing to buy things that are “used” rather than new  avoiding environmentally unfriendly products  choosing to buy environmentally friendly products  However  they are skeptical of green products  environmentally friendly products are not worth the extra cost Regular quantitative measures of consumer behavior and to promote sustainable consumption
  7. 7. Green Purchasing Network India7  95% Indians want government to support more green innovation and regulation  Lack of availability and inconsistent labelling as the major barrier to buying green Consumer perceptions of green products and corporate brands
  8. 8. So Why Another Survey? Green Purchasing Network India8  Large Sample Size  Multi-stakeholder approach  Bilateral Methodology  Designed specifically for Indian consumers
  9. 9. Approach Green Purchasing Network India9
  10. 10. Overview of Survey Sample Green Purchasing Network India10 Online Survey 453 Offline Survey 1598 Manufac- turers 8 Retailers 6 Certifiers 2 Consumers 2051 Industry Stakeholders 16
  11. 11. Green Purchasing Network India11
  12. 12. Results and Analysis: Consumer Survey
  13. 13. Overview Green Purchasing Network India13  The survey targeted to know –  What an Indian consumer understands by ‘Greenness’ of a product?  What factors influence their buying decisions on green products? Do Indian consumers trust various claims made by product manufacturers?  What are barriers perceived by the consumers that deter them from buying green?
  14. 14. Survey Size and its Characteristics  Mode of conduct: Online (22%) and Offline (78%) Green Purchasing Network India14  The sample had 55% Male and 39% Female respondents At point of Purchase
  15. 15. Survey Size and its Characteristics  90% of respondents of both gender were young and belonged to the age group between 21-60 years Green Purchasing Network India15
  16. 16. Survey Size and its Characteristics  86% of male and 91% of female respondents were well educated and belonged to group that had completed graduation at minimum Green Purchasing Network India16
  17. 17. Survey Size and its Characteristics  66% of male respondents and 55% of female respondents had good buying capacity Green Purchasing Network India17
  18. 18. Excellent Respondent Profile Green Purchasing Network India18  Maximum of the Respondents were young, well-educated and had buying capacity  Representative of Urban Middle class said to be the predominant consumer in India!
  19. 19. Recognizing Green Products  Understanding was limited to the terms  Biodegradable  Recycled  Organic  Non-toxic • 90% of the respondents were aware of the term ‘green ‘ or ‘eco-friendly’ product Green Purchasing Network India19
  20. 20. Recognizing Green Products  Terms ‘Recycled and Biodegradable’ were most recognized amongst those consumers who said they were aware about green products  The terms ‘organic and Non-toxic’ were most recognized amongst those consumers who were not aware about green products  Term ‘Organic’ was more popular with the age group 41 years and above and the term ‘Recycled’ with the younger consumer (15 to 40 years). Green Purchasing Network India20
  21. 21. Recognizing on Green Products  Do Consumer understand the terms ‘biodegradable’ and ‘organic’?  Can they differentiate between the terms ‘recycled’ and ‘recyclable’? Terms that are popularly used as synonyms to ‘greenness’ gets imprinted on the consumer and they use these to relate it to the products. Green Purchasing Network India22
  22. 22. Does buying Green Products makes a difference? Green Purchasing Network India23
  23. 23. Cost of Green Products Green Purchasing Network India24
  24. 24. Cost of Green Products  Cost of the green products partially influences the buying decision but it certainly is not the guiding factor  Cost aspect is not guided by gender differences nor by different income group Green Purchasing Network India25
  25. 25. Barriers preventing Consumers from buying Green products Cost is actually not the prime factor as compared to ‘Awareness’ and ‘Availability’ Green Purchasing Network India26
  26. 26. Other Factors influencing the buying decision Design does not matter to consumers as compared to concern for environment and health Green Purchasing Network India27
  27. 27. Eco Labels Green Purchasing Network India28  Ecolabels or certifications on green products can also influence the buying decision
  28. 28. Take-aways - Consumer survey  Understanding of the terms used for defining ‘greenness’ w.r.t. the product type needs more awareness amongst consumers  ‘Cost’ and ‘design’ of the product is not the guiding factor that impacts buying decision for an Indian consumer  Ecolabels and Certifications can play a big role in influencing buying decision Green Purchasing Network India29
  29. 29. Results and Analysis: Industry Stakeholder Survey (Manufacturers, Retailers & Certifiers) Green Purchasing Network India30
  30. 30. The Sample Green Purchasing Network India31  14 Companies (Meetings and Telephonic Interviews)  Six retailers  Eight manufacturers  Covered the three categories of Organic Paper, Organic Textile and Organic Food  Comprised of companies with both online and offline presence  All founded between the years 2000 and 2012  Certifiers
  31. 31. Overview Green Purchasing Network India32  What challenges faced in communicating greenness to the consumer?  What attracts a consumer to buy green?  What prevents a consumer from buying green?  Do consumers understand eco-labels and certifications?  Suggestions for increasing awareness and understanding of green products
  32. 32. Communicating Green: What are the challenges faced? Green Purchasing Network India33 The top terms used to communicate green are ‘Organic’ and ‘Biodegradable’
  33. 33. Communicating Green: What are the challenges faced? Green Purchasing Network India34  Indian society is not yet prepared for the concept of green  The buy-in / acceptance of a concept of a green product requires change in mind set and behavior
  34. 34. Buying Green: What attracts a consumer? Green Purchasing Network India35
  35. 35. Buying Green: What prevents a consumer? Green Purchasing Network India36  Cost emerges as the main barrier!
  36. 36. Eco-labels & certifications Green Purchasing Network India37
  37. 37. Awareness on green products? Green Purchasing Network India38  All respondents cited education, media, social media, word of mouth and a health conscious generation as the cause Yes 100% No 0% Do you see increasing awareness about green products amongst consumers?
  38. 38. Certifiers: A third perspective Green Purchasing Network India39  There is an increasing awareness amongst the urban consumers regarding such certifications.  Younger generation who are educated and health conscious are driving this increase.  There is a tendency among Indian consumers to believe the claims however certification does not play a role in purchase decision.
  39. 39. Certifiers: A third perspective Green Purchasing Network India40  For eco-labels, the focus is mostly on foreign markets as these countries have stricter laws for exporters.  Top barriers to Certification:  low awareness of environmental hazards  cost of certification  low demand for certified products in India.
  40. 40. Overall Analysis Green Purchasing Network India41
  41. 41. Consumer V/s Industry Stakeholders  Cost For Consumers the Cost is not the prime factor for buying green products where as The Retailers and Manufacturers perception is that Cost is prime factor Green Purchasing Network India42
  42. 42. Consumer V/s Industry Stakeholders  Design: For Consumers design of the product is not important whereas The Retailers think it is! Green Purchasing Network India43
  43. 43. Consumer V/s Industry Stakeholders  Awareness:  Although there is an increased Awareness on green products, yet the terms for defining ‘greenness’ is still not understood. Retailers and manufacturers perceive that ‘organic’ and ‘biodegradable’ is what consumer understand as Green whereas an aware consumer considers “biodegradable’ and ‘recycled’ Green Purchasing Network India44
  44. 44. Recommendations  Need to increase awareness on the ‘Greenness’ terminologies  Acceptable terminologies  Communication and Media  Communicating the shades of Green  Absolute Green or Environmentally preferable  Preventing Green Washing  Establishing Green claims code Green Purchasing Network India45
  45. 45. Recommendations  Increased Availability, affordability and visibility  Peering and assurance  Certification Green Purchasing Network India46
  46. 46. Thank you Green Purchasing Network India47