The Sustainable Furnishings Council and sponsor World Market Center Las Vegas have released the results of the third annual Green Home Furnishings Consumer Study, which was conducted in Sept. 2010.
The study’s purpose was to provide trend data on consumer awareness, attitudes and behavior as each relates to a variety of environmental issues and the home furnishings industry. It was conducted among 351 female homeowners across the United States between the ages of 30 to 60 years.
Overall, findings were 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. Findings appear to have been strongly influenced by ongoing consumer concerns about the economy or respondent’s own financial well being. There was also a more negative response pattern to questions related to pricing, price expectations, purchasing, etc., suggesting that consumers may be less “home” focused and more apprehensive about any spending.
Similar to the two previous years, about two in four consumers rated themselves as very or extremely aware and concerned about a range of environmental issues from toxic pollution to using up natural resources to deforestation. Most are taking action in a variety of ways from recycling at home to switching to CFL light bulbs, and more than half have purchased environmentally-friendly products in a variety of categories, but purchasing of green home furnishings specifically remains very low at four percent. The main obstacles continue to be lack of awareness/availability. Additionally, there is an ongoing expectation that so-called green products will cost more. “Environmentally safe” is the preferred term for green products, and suggesting health and wellness or safety claims may be most compelling.
Despite these issues, the projected trial rate for green home furnishings is high at thirty-seven percent, a drop of ten points from 2009 but comparable to 2008. Importantly, this interest is qualified as a style they would like and priced about the same as other options. Before this year, this has meant pricing up to ten percent more. In 2010, there was a significant shift toward no more than five percent, underscoring market price sensitivity.
New questions were added this year to get a better understanding of the market for certified wood, as well as juvenile and gift products. Certified wood performed similarly to green products overall, though at a lesser level, understandable as it is a more limited topic area. Health and safety concerns appear to be motivating purchasers of children’s furniture with a projected trial rate of forty-five percent among mothers with young children, though sustainability does not appear to be a factor in buying gifts.
World Market Center Las Vegas, which sponsored the study, has been aware of sustainability’s viability, and continues developing programs in support of eco-friendly projects.
“With the changing landscape of the eco-economy, we realize that there is an increasingly important need for our industry to have viable and current information. Our goal with this study is to allow both manufacturers and retailers to respond to the expectations of their environmentally-conscious customers, and market accordingly,” says World Market Center Las Vegas President and CEO Robert Maricich. “Through a continued partnership with SFC, we are committed to providing education and showcasing innovation in sustainability, and are currently planning expanded initiatives for the January 2011 Market.”
Actual data from the study is available to those media members interested in writing more extensively on the subject by contacting Susan Inglis at [email protected] or 919.967.1137.
About World Market Center Las Vegas
World Market Center Las Vegas is an integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and trade complex. The state-of-the-art campus showcases furniture, decorative accessories, gift, lighting, area rugs, home textiles and related segments, as well as the Las Vegas Design Center open daily to consumers and designers. World Market Center currently hosts the biannual Las Vegas Market, the preeminent total home market along with Gift + Home and Vegas Kids. For more information on World Market Center Las Vegas and its shows, visit www.wmclv.com.
About Sustainable Furnishings Council
The Sustainable Furnishings Council is a non-profit balanced coalition of industry players founded at High Point, NC in October 2006 to promote sustainable practices among manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike. The SFC recognizes the overwhelming scientific consensus that our world is experiencing dangerous global climate change. SFC members acknowledge the tremendous urgency, and take immediate steps to minimize carbon emissions, waste stream pollutants, un-recyclable content and primary materials from unsustainable sources from any product platform under their control.