We want clean, green appliances, Electrolux consumers say

Two thirds of consumers consider the environmental impact of home appliances to be an important factor when purchasing a product, according to a recent sustainability study by Electrolux.

Compared to factors such as price and features/functions, energy efficiency was ranked as a top-three buying criterion in all of the six countries surveyed.

The survey was carried out as part of a wider brand scorecard study, and a total of 3,600 consumers were interviewed in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France and the United States. The results confirmed that Electrolux’ priorities on sustainability in appliances are important to consumers, but also highlighted significant opportunities for the company, said Henrik Sundström, Head of Sustainability Affairs at Electrolux.

“We see for instance that many people believe the biggest environmental impact of an appliance is related to the way it can be disposed and recycled. In fact we know that 75% of the impact comes from the usage of the product,” Sundström said. “It is also clear that most of those who rate sustainability as a less important factor are actually concerned about the key issues, they just can’t see the differences between brand performance. We have an educational task ahead of us in this area.”

Lowering costs and reducing the impact on the environment are generally held as equally important factors for engaging in energy efficient behavior, the study showed. There were however clear differences between and within the countries. China and Brazil are generally more driven to save the environment while French and American consumers’ motivation for prioritizing sustainability was more driven by saving costs.

The responsibility to improve the environmental performance of appliances lies on the manufacturers, according to 67% of those surveyed. Electrolux’ top priorities in this area are to maximize energy efficiency and minimize the use of water and harmful chemicals, matching three of the four highest priorities as identified by the consumers.

“We see a positive correlation between successful companies in the respective markets also being perceived as sustainable. We will definitely want to use the feedback from this study to guide us in product development and communications going forward,” Sundström said.