Consumer Awareness, Availability of Green Home Furnishings Affect Purchases

A tough economy is having a noticeable effect on eco-​friendly furnishings purchases, according to the Sustainable Furnishings Council's 2010 Green Home Furnishings Consumer Study.  The study indicated consumers are less home-​involved and more apprehensive about spending, and concerns about the economy are making consumers less likely to spend more on sustainable furnishings. 

The survey also indicated that while many consumers are taking action on sustainability issues and that more than half have purchased green products, the purchasing of green home furnishings remains very low at 4% of consumers.  According to the survey, the main obstacle is lack of awareness and availability of products, which could suggest a problem with supply and marketing, rather than concept or product dissatisfaction.

The survey suggests that health and wellness or safety claims are most compelling to consumers and indicated that "environmentally safe" is the preferred term for green products.

It also showed that while in the past consumers have been willing to pay about 10% more for green items, that number is shifting to about 5%, underscoring how shoppers are more price-sensitive.

Overall, findings are consistent with prior years showing significant interest in buying green home furnishings, though actual purchasing remaining very low due to lack of awareness and/​or availability of options. However, findings appear this year to have been strongly influenced by ongoing consumer concerns about the economy or respondent's own financial well being.

Despite these issues, the projected trial rate for green home furnishings is high at 37%, a drop of 10 points from 2009 but comparable to 2008.

[Source:  "Green Home Furnishings Consumer Study."  Home Furnishings Business/​Sustainable Furnishings Council. (SFC)  15 Nov. 2010.  Web.  10 Dec. 2010.]