SFC Highlights Green Furnishings Trends in New Consumer Study

The Sustainable Furnishings Council’s Green Home Furnishings Consumer Study points to a promising future for the eco-friendly furnishings industry. Here’s what you need to know.

Katie Caron
02/02/2018
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Interior of home with plant, sofa and dresser.
(Photo: Unsplash user Alexandra Gorn)

Green home decor products may be good for the environment and our health, but are people actually willing to buy them? The Sustainable Furnishings Council’s (SFC) newly-released Green Home Furnishings Consumer Study answered questions like this as it highlighted consumer trends in eco-friendly furnishings.

For the report, SFC surveyed U.S. homeowners between the ages of 30-60 with household incomes of $50,000 or more. All respondents had spent at least $500 in home furnishings over the course of a year. Read on for the key takeaways.

People care about the environment

SFC Executive Director Susan Inglis said the new study presents both challenges and opportunities for the home furnishings industry. But beyond all, the study is cause for optimism, as 97 percent of respondents indicated they are concerned about environmental issues.

“Compared to past SFC consumer research studies, a greater amount of respondents are concerned about the environment and are taking environmentally responsible action because they acknowledge that climate disasters are touching them personally,” Inglis said.

Some other illuminating stats:

  • 72 percent expressed concern about global warming, with 4 in 10 feeling they are directly affected.
  • 81 percent expressed concern about hazardous indoor air quality. One-third said they are directly affected, while half said they are not directly affected but believe everyone should be concerned.
  • Women respondents expressed concern on more individual issues such as toxic pollutants in the waste stream, deforestation, extinction of species, using up natural resources and hazardous indoor air quality than men.

If the first step to getting people to invest in green home furnishings is getting them to care about the environment and indoor air quality, the industry is well on its way.

Buying behavior

So people seem to care about the environment more than ever. But are they willing to buy products that will help protect it? This study points to yes, for the most part. It found that 90 percent of home furnishings purchasers will choose eco-friendly home furnishings if they like the style of the products and the price is within their budget.

So what is that budget? Respondents in the survey were willing to pay up to 10 percent more for furnishings they consider eco-friendly, including wood furniture that is certified as legal and responsibly harvested and home furnishings certified to be environmentally safe.

A good chunk of the respondents said they’re already buying environmentally safe products. Eighty-five percent have purchased environmentally safe items, with a concentration on home-related products like cleaning supplies and paper products.

While environmentally safe products are on the rise, a lack of awareness on eco-attributes is a barrier for many consumers. Those who have not purchased eco-friendly furnishings said a lack of awareness (31 percent) and cost (25 percent) were the biggest obstacles.

Consumers aren’t completely lacking in awareness. A solid 74 percent of survey respondents are familiar with ENERGY STAR, with reclaimed wood (67 percent) and recycled content (63 percent) following close behind. A “fair trade” label on home textiles resonated with 72 percent of those surveyed.

 

Overall, this study shows promise when it comes to the future of sustainable home furnishings. To help fill gaps in awareness, it’s up to manufacturers, retailers and designers alike to educate their customers on what products are made of and the benefits of eco-friendly purchases.

Where do you see consumer habits in green home furnishings moving? Let us know in the comments!

 

Photo: Unsplash user Alexandra Gorn

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