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Buying Green Costs Too Much Green

04/22/2011

Clorox introduced Green Works, its environmentally friendly cleaning product line, in 2008 with an endorsement from the Sierra Club. First year sales were over $100 million. With recession gripping consumers’ throats the love affair with green products has diminished. Sales of Green Works have fallen to $60 million.

It seems mass-market household product makers like Clorox can’t persuade main stream consumers to buy green – which is marketing code for more expensive.

Simultaneously the market share of independent green brands like Method and Seventh Generation, is increasing, while share of traditional brands’ green product declines.

I’ve seen this is multiple sectors. A small group of consumers, typically more affluent, will gravitate to a niche market – be it eco, made in USA, hand-crafted, etc. They’ll be loyal brand advocates. The majority of consumers however, will jump ship for pennies – especially in difficult times. They’d like to buy green or USA, but money talks and BS walks.

The pressure for brands’ and marketers to anticipate consumers reaction to their products in the current economic environment is huge. The stakes are high. It’s no time to fall asleep at the wheel (or control tower).

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