Not too long ago, shelves at Target, Walmart and many other retail meccas were bowing under the weight of “green” products.
Organic, biodegradable and cruelty free products boomed as a business, with sales of Clorox’s “Green Works” line alone hitting over $100 million in 2008. The economy was already hitting the skids at that point though, and it was probably inevitable that green products, too, would take a pretty big hit as consumers cut their own personal budgets considerably.
Sales of “Green Works” have plummeted to $60 million, and analogous brands with competing products have seen similar drops in the “green” market. The New York Times spoke to analyst Stephen Powers, who said smaller, green-only brands fared a bit better in tough economic times than bigger household names with many offerings:
“You see disproportionately negative impact from products like Green Works, out of the big blue-chip companies that have tried to layer a green offering on top of their conventional offering, and a relatively better performance from the niche players who remain independent… In terms of the big players like Clorox, there’s no doubt that they’ve de-emphasized the brands relative to their early aspirations, and that’s reflective of what they are seeing from the consumer,” Mr. Powers said.
The Times also spoke with consumers at a supermarket about their likelihood of purchasing green cleaning products. One consumer, Sarah Pooler, told the paper:
“Bottom line, if it’s green and it’s a good deal, I’ll buy it,” said Ms. Pooler, outside a Jewel-Osco store.
Have you forayed into the practice of “going green” only to go back? Do you believe using “green” products is ultimately better for the environment?