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Consumers yet to prioritise eco features when choosing new electrical products

12 July 2010

Research conducted by WRAP, the organisation charged with supporting businesses and consumers in resource efficiency, reveals that there is much to do to get consumers to choose green products when purchasing electrical items. The research paper, Consumer attitudes to sustainable electrical products is now available here.

The study was set up to explore consumer attitudes to products on the market described by manufacturers as having eco features, and to gain more insight into key influences behind the purchase of a range of electricals from washing machines to mobile phones. It looked at seven products and considered things like reparability, energy usage and recycled content.

The qualitative study highlights that overall, participants had a very low level of understanding about eco products and only considered eco qualities if other factors like price, quality and specification was not compromised. Environmental considerations were the 10th most significant influence well below price and brand.

Marcus Gover, WRAP's director of market development said the results highlight the need for manufacturers, retailers and WRAP to work together to move environmental considerations higher up consumer’s tick list when they consider purchasing a new product.

The study highlights a need for retailers and product developers to communicate clearly to customers what benefits eco products have and how quality is retained as they consider their purchases. The messaging could dispel the myth that an eco product is not a high quality item and detail how this product could save energy over another. Even durability may not be valued if consumers do not recognise the brand offering it.

WRAP will use this study to help industry partners to identify where customers need to receive clearer product information and where industry can more clearly communicate the benefits of more sustainable products. It says the study underlines a gap that retailers are failing to capitalise upon in the marketing of sustainable products.

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