J.D. Power and Associates Reports: While Consumers at the Opposite Ends of the Age Spectrum Are Strong Advocates of Green Living, Moms in the Middle Take a More Practical Approach

Jun 03, 2010, 11:00 ET from J.D. Power and Associates

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to their approaches to green living, the youngest and oldest consumers are advocacy-oriented, while Gen X and Gen Y moms are more likely to take action and adopt green habits within their households, according to analysis compiled from J.D. Power Tribe Intelligence(SM) Reports.

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J.D. Power Tribe Intelligence examines unsolicited consumer mentions to provide unique perspectives on the online discussions of consumers in five demographic groups: Teens, Early Careerists, Gen Y Moms, Gen X Moms and Boomers. The report, conducted using J.D. Power's Web Intelligence unique capabilities for identifying and tracking consumer conversations online, is designed to provide insights to help marketers understand each demographic tribe segment's unique attitudes and behaviors to ensure their marketing efforts align with expectations and are targeted properly.

According to findings gathered through Tribe Intelligence, Teens, Early Careerists and Boomers primarily take an advocacy approach to living green lifestyles through educating themselves about environmental issues and legislation and supporting causes ranging from climate change to air quality and conservation. However, as evidenced by much of the online commentary from these groups, they often stop short of adopting green habits, but display fervor in advocating for green legislation and policy. For example:

"...get involved with the organizations which hold corporations' feet to the fire over their harmful emissions...find out which politicians support measures to halt climate change and support them...If not, get used to weather disasters and warmer weather. This country is responsible for the vast majority of harmful emissions...."

While these groups have this advocacy approach in common, their motivations for taking the stance differ. Teens and Early Careerists embrace the green cause as a method of establishing their identities and independence. Among Boomers, for whom rallying behind causes that support the greater good is already part of their collective identity, supporting green causes provides an opportunity to share their point of view and their experiences for creating change.

"Boomers, Early Careerists and Teens are less focused on the everyday application of green living due to their concerns about convenience, cost and functionality," said Emily Cushman, manager of consumer insights and strategy for the Web Intelligence Division at J.D.  Power and Associates. "However, identifying with and supporting green causes is vitally important to their personal image. In targeting these segments, brands need to be mindful of how their product can help bolster these advocate consumers."

In contrast, Gen X and Gen Y Moms take a functional approach to green living by applying green behaviors within their households. For Gen X Moms, being green is motivated by a desire to be less wasteful and more frugal in their spending. In applying green behaviors such as gardening, composting and recycling, they have found that living a green lifestyle brings the benefit of saving money. While buying products that are perceived as green is not a primary goal for Gen X Moms, they are willing to do so as long as the products fit within their budgets. Much of the sentiment expressed by Gen X Moms concerns the balancing act they face:

"It's hard to live this 'green' lifestyle sometimes when you don't have a lot of money coming in, but at the same time if I'm smart and look for coupons…it's not so hard."

Gen Y Moms take a do-it-yourself approach to applying green behaviors by developing their own cleaning products and baby food in an effort to provide pure, quality products for themselves and their families. They actively avoid potentially toxic cleaning products and support brands that provide greener alternatives. For many Gen Y Moms, being thrifty can be an added bonus to going green:

"Homemade Baby Food…After every dinner, I'd stick the leftovers in my food processor, blend them up and spoon them into ice cube trays…I had homemade baby food ready to go! It's a totally rad way to avoid all the preservatives added to most jar baby food and use up leftovers at the same time…"

"By understanding the attitudes and purchase behaviors of each of these demographic segments, marketers can more effectively target their desired audience with products and messaging that address their specific motivation for supporting green living, and clearly, these motivations can vary notably between groups," said Cushman.

Green topics that are discussed online most frequently by these demographic segments follow similar divisions. For Boomers, Early Careerists and Teens, climate change is the most commonly discussed topic. For Gen X Moms and Gen Y Moms, recycling is the most frequently discussed green topic of conversation.

In addition to monitoring the five demographic tribes, J.D. Power  will also issue reports on five behavioral tribes later in 2010. These behavioral tribes include:

  • Discretionals, which includes couples and households with the financial flexibility to enjoy the finer things in life, and have established job security and savings.
  • Domestic Duos, who are defined as newly married or cohabitating couples that are combining household incomes, thus increasing their purchasing power and making significant lifestyle changes.
  • Green-centrics, who are defined as environmentally-aware consumers who display eco-conscious attitudes and behaviors and make eco-friendly purchases.
  • Modern Man, defined as men with a variety of interests and tastes, who care about being perceived as a "guy's guy" and are also concerned about their appearance.
  • Wellness Warriors, who are individuals focused on fitness and wellness that make conscious efforts to exercise regularly and eat healthfully.

The J.D. Power Tribe Intelligence Reports examine the attitudes, behaviors and values of each demographic tribe segment, highlights key topics and industries mentioned in social media conversation, and identifies opportunities for relationship building, providing actionable insights for marketers. Using data compiled and distilled by crawling millions of English-language blogs, including the top five online social networks and blog hosts between July 2009 and January 2010, the report captures the true voice of the consumer—unprompted and unfiltered—to allow marketers to gain a comprehensive understanding of their targeted consumers.

The J.D. Power and Associates Web Intelligence Division is unique in its ability to assess both what is being said and who is doing the speaking in the online world, enabling companies to understand the attitudes and behaviors of various consumer segments. Patent-pending technology enables the classification of posts and the ability to estimate the gender and age of consumers, as well as rapid identification and elimination of spam posts. The Web Intelligence Division analyzes voices of the online community by using proprietary Natural Language Processing and machine-learning algorithms to dissect the who, what and why of online opinion, and offers in-depth insights for some of the world's leading brands.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

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