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To build a context of travel research for understanding green travel trends, Phocuswright set out to create a baseline for consumer adoption of the overall green lifestyle. Examining multiple indicators around behaviors, values and atti­tudes provides a comprehensive picture of how deeply consumers embrace green ideals and how that affects their daily product-purchase decisions.

One of the core characteristics of a green life­style is attitude toward energy consumption, which encompasses two major resources: fuel and electricity. When asked to self-assess their day-to-day activities, U.S. travelers reflect an extremely strong awareness and at least a light level of activity toward consumption reduc­tion. Five groups were isolated based on their energy-related self-assessments: indifferent, passive, uncommitted, dedicated and activist consumers. Upon cluster analysis, these groups were found to be consistent throughout other lifestyle factors such as behaviors and values, and therefore these groupings are indicative of not only energy-related activities, but also of general lifestyle.1 Within the five groups, the responses reflect a relatively nor­mal distribution, with a skew toward the more actively green categories.

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Across a range of individual green behaviors, Phocuswright’s travel research shows the consistently higher level of response by the more actively green categories is clear. This consistency indicates that consum­ers follow their self-described level of energy commitment through to other green lifestyle components. For all lifestyle groups, lighting-related actions and recycling were most com­mon. Hybrid and flexible fuel vehicles and solar energy were the least common, which is consistent with expectations given the lack of widespread availability as well as the commit­ment and investment required.

 

The relevance of the lifestyle groupings becomes even more apparent when considering certain personal values and attitudes. There is generally a strong positive response across the board to more abstract concepts and situations in which being green is free/easy, though the differences between lifestyle groups is still apparent.3 When situations involve cost or inconvenience, the differences widen dra­matically. In the actively green categories, 77% choose green options when it saves them money and 62% are willing to pay a premium. For the less actively green categories, 74% choose green options when it saves them money, and only 31% are willing to pay a pre­mium. The sizable drop-off highlights some of the limits to the group’s commitment to envi­ronmental friendliness.

The contrast between lifestyle categories all but disappears when in regard to negative statements; the exception is the topic of global warming. Even among those in the actively green category, a majority of respondents believe that companies often label products green just to charge more, with agree­ment from both categories at a remarkably consistent 57%. Twenty-three percent of both lifestyle groups indicate that they sometimes feel peer pressure to make environmentally friendly choices, implying that social pressure affects different strata of green lifestyle groups somewhat evenly, cites our travel research .