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Published May 1, 2009
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Green Knowledge is Up, But Consumers Wary of Tactics



Results of the 2008 GfK Roper Green Gauge study show that consumers are not only more aware of green issues and are taking action, but have become somewhat skeptical about how true a corporation’s green activities may be.

According to the study, 72% of Americans say they know a lot or a fair amount about environmental issues and problems (up 7 points from 2007) and 28% often seek out environmental information (up 5 points).

While the most common green actions are those that are helping Americans save money in their day-to-day lives, such as energy efficient light bulbs or energy saving appliances, there is some good news for the household and personal care market. Consumers are purchasing green household cleaning products (64%) and environmentally safe laundry detergent (57%) despite the fact that they cost more.

The majority of consumers continue to agree there must be a balance between economic growth and protecting the environment (78% in 2008 and 75% in 2007). However, among these consumers, those who say the environment is a greater concern than the economy has dropped from 69% in 2007 to 55% in 2008, potentially a result of the economic downturn.

When asked who should take the lead in addressing environmental problems, consumers ranked the federal government first (46% down 4 points from 2007), followed by individual Americans (39% up 4 points) and corporate America (32% down 3 points).

While Americans aren’t expecting businesses to take the lead, the majority (70%) say companies aren’t fulfilling their environmental responsibilities. But even when corporate America takes action, many individuals remain skeptical about their motives—68% said these steps are taken to help the company image and only 29% said they are done for the good of the environment. At the same time, companies that aren’t taking green action are running the risk of a potential backlash. GfK reports that 30% of consumers make an effort to avoid buying products from corporations they don’t feel are environmentally responsible and 22% boycott those that are harming natural resources.

More info: www.gfkamerica.com


The Salon: A Market of Missed Opportunities?



When it comes to the salon business, there are plenty of missed opportunities to sell products. According to a soon-to-be-released study from Professional Beauty Association (PBA), 44% of consumers will generally purchase a product recommended by their stylist, but 71% of respondents were not offered a product on their last visit.

This and other findings are part of Business of Beauty: Maximize Your Profitability, a new study that the association is calling the first comprehensive industry research on the salon retail environment. Offering a look at consumer trends and how the industry must adapt, the study is designed to help dramatically increase retail sales within salon outlets, grow overall profitability and create a higher degree of customer loyalty.

“Results from the Business of Beauty study are monumental and are a wake-up call to the industry on multiple levels,” noted Steve Sleeper, executive director of the Professional Beauty Association. “I expect many in the industry will need to re-examine their business practices, and PBA will be an active partner in helping the industry adapt and grow.”

The study will be released at the upcoming PBA Symposium, which is part of PBA Beauty Week, July 18-21, 2009 in Las Vegas, NV. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the salon retail experience, identifying where consumers want to buy products, what products they are looking to purchase and the role of the stylist in the retail process, the symposium will examine what “best in class” salons are doing to maximize profitability from their retail outlet.

The study also found that while it comes as no surprise that supercenters and discount retailers are popular, 46% of respondents have increased their purchases of beauty products at these outlets during the past year, while salon purchases are on the slide.

The symposium is intended for professionals from all sectors of the beauty industry, from manufacturers to distributors.

More info: www.probeauty.org/beautyweek



Teen Spending is Down, But Personal Care Stabilizes



Dude, this whole economy thing is putting the squeeze on teen spending.

According to Piper Jaffray’s 17th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey, a challenging economy and low consumer confidence has led to a decline in teen spending in areas such as fashion (-4%), footwear (-9%) and accessories (-8%). And while beauty spending is also down from last year, Piper Jaffray contends it is stabilizing from fall 2008 as lower-price categories of fragrance and cosmetics outpace skin care and department stores continue to cede share to discount, drug and specialty stores.

“After the drop in teen spending stabilized last fall, it is apparent that the continued challenges in the economy are having a dramatic impact on teen spending this spring,” said senior research analyst Jeff Klinefelter. “The decrease in spending leads us to believe that the economy is forcing parents and teens to cut back on spending across the board.”

According to Mr. Klinefelter, teens and their parents are still buying, but they are more selective and increasingly price conscious. “This will force retailers to discount prices and offer unique promotions to keep a steady flow of spending until the economy improves,” he added.

For the study, a Piper Jaffray’s team visited nine cities across the U.S., surveying approximately 600 students with an average age of 16.3 years. In partnership with DECA (the association of marketing students), Piper Jaffray captured online survey responses from an additional 7,500 students with an average age of 16.7 years.

More info: www.piperjaffray.com


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