Customers are reluctant to spend more on higher-priced environmentally friendly items
- By Sandra M. Jones |Chicago Tribune reporter
- March 6, 2009
- The recession is throwing a wrench in the green living moment.
The number of Americans who say they "almost always" or "regularly" buy eco-friendly products has stalled at 36 percent, the same as last year, according to a survey from Mintel, a Chicago-based consumer research firm. That follows a leap in green shoppers to that 36 percent from 12 percent in 2007, the firm said.
Most adults are willing to pay "only a little extra" for green products, the survey found. When it comes to buying household cleaning products, for example, 52 percent of respondents said they are too expensive.
Mintel expects the green shopping movement to regain steam, predicting 19 percent growth in the next five years
- Still, the economic downturn hasn't deterred companies from tapping into the green movement.
Payless ShoeSource, the discount shoe store, plans to roll out its first line of green products in April and is touting it as an "affordable" alternative to pricey eco-friendly goods.
The green shoes, priced at less than $30, are made from organic cottons and linen, natural hemp and recycled soles. They will be packaged using recycled materials. Eco fashion expert Summer Rayne Oakes of the Discovery Network's Planet Green network has signed on as consultant and spokeswoman.
- The collection, called Zoe & Zac, will include handbags, jewelry and socks. The first products will be made for women and girls. Payless is looking to add products for men and boys.
Payless plans to unveil the line at 500 of its 4,000 U.S. stores around Earth Day, which is April 22, said Mardi Larson, a spokesman for the Topeka, Kan.-based retailer. Another 500 Payless stores will carry a handful of the styles. The line also will be sold on Payless.com.