New research sponsored by the Hearst Design Group found that consumers are more concerned about environmental issues than ever before, a concern leading them to opt for eco-friendly home furnishings.
Four in five consumers revealed they were “very concerned/concerned” about issues of toxic pollutants in the waste stream, overloading landfills, using up natural resources, extinction of species, and deforestation/loss of rain forests. Nine in 10 shared concerns about hazardous indoor air quality and global warming.
Respondents also shared insights into their own sustainability practices, with recycling and using compact fluorescent light bulbs among their practices, in addition to adjusting the thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer (60 percent), lowering their use of bottled water (49 percent), and cutting back on driving (41 percent). The research discovered that consumers have preferences for certain terms, with the top term being “environmentally safe” (28 percent), followed by “eco-friendly” (24 percent), and “sustainable” (15 percent).
“This is a caution to sales professionals that we should choose our words carefully,” says Susan Inglis, executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. “Though we are excited to see that more consumers than ever would buy eco-friendly furnishings and that fewer than ever are ‘uninterested,’ it is a caution to sellers that these consumers are so unaware of what is available at all price points and in all styles. We at SFC see the opportunity for businesses across the industry to grow sales by telling their eco-stories. Further, we are pleased to provide the training companies may need to get the word out about what they already have on their floor. We see this information about consumer concern as a huge opportunity to strengthen the industry!”
SFC member companies can obtain the full research report; industry pros can email the SFC to join and request a copy.