With Economy Down A Cesspool, Green Product Sales Are Doing What?


Green reflections in the cesspool. Image credit:Flickr, infinitybyinduction

With sales of just about everything down, save for gold, cheap processed food, and toilet paper, it would be remarkable if even a few so-called 'green products' had experienced increased demand in recent months. Well...wouldn't it? Let's examine a sampling of what data exist, indicating sales trends for green products .

Hybrid cars.
Autoblog reports that Toyota has a Prius model order backlog of 25,000. This low number reflects the earthquake-caused damage to the automotive supply chain. Can you imagine how many hybrids Toyota might sell if all Prius models were in full production, satisfying North American demand?Orders are being taken for the GM Volt, starting in Canada. Production projections for this novel hybrid, much speculated on since mid-2010, vary from one to several thousand units per month.

The market for Volt is in the "early adopter" stage, making it comparable to the Prius in 2004. Point is - orders are being taken for car with a completely new propulsion system, costing over 40 grand, sight unseen, in the middle of a 'great recession.' And, it is indeed green.

Green building.
There is plenty of recent anecdotal evidence indicating developers think that adding strong green design elements will move residential product before other non-green designs move. For example, see this excerpt from: KB Home hopes building green turns luxury condo sales red hot.

When it opens Tuesday, the company's Primera Terra residential development in Playa Vista will include a host of green essentials: A white "cool roof" to deflect sunlight and heat, electric vehicle charging stations in the garage and storage space for bicycles.

The condo complex with 52 units also has its own community garden. Each condo has a tankless water heater and hi-tech showerheads that save as many as 2,700 gallons a year.


Last fall there were several studies published which indicated "green homes sell faster and for higher dollar than their non-energy saving counterparts." See: Do Green Homes Sell Faster? for an overview. The market edge for green homes is further illustrated in the USA Today story: Green homes sell for more and faster than other homes
Organic food.
AgriPulse nailed the big-picture, continuing, organic food trend with it's story With U.S. food sales up 1%, organic value surges 7.7% to over $28 billion for 2010

First quarter, processed organic food sales for 2011 showed signs of continued growth. For illustrations, see the Sustainable Food news story: Popular organic brands report 3Q double-digit sales; stock hits new high
Pedal pushing.
Per a story in ksl.com, "While sales of new bikes are up 9 percent in the first quarter nationwide, road bike sales alone are up 29 percent, according to Scott Jaeger, senior retail analyst with Leisure Trends Group, a Boulder, Colo.-based retail tracking firm."

Power.
Cumulative renewable power generation capacity continues to rise, while projected growth of coal-fired capacities has fallen drastically from coal-fired plant expansion estimates made 2 to 3 years ago.

Conclusion and perspective.
I'm sold on green products being sustainable. Excluding, of course, the silly ones like bamboo iPad cases and BP-free dildos. Green design improvements on things we need for everyday living and which can help conserve resources are a continuing success and will remain so.

Nay-sayers and pot-stirrers.
Joel Makower, for example, will have none of this when it comes to marketing specific brands. He says:

So, green marketing isn't changing consumers' minds, is ignored by the biggest marketers, isn't changing things, misleads consumers and doesn't give companies credit where it's due. Are there any good reasons to keep doing it?

Even stranger for electronics. Greenpeace continues to attack Apple for using tiny bits of vinyl-coated wire in their devices and because the firm won't agree to the green metrics GP insists on. Meanwhile, my Apple iBook lasted almost 6 years without having to buy a single replacement part before the chipset got too slow for the software I needed. I challenge any Gates box lover who thinks they have a laptop to beat Apple's longevity - the ultimate test of green-ness.

What do you think?