Awash in Incompatible Power Supplies, Consumers Say Enough is Enough, New Green Plug Survey Reports
Sixty Percent Describe Status Quo in Consumer Electronics As ‘Wasteful’ or ‘Frustrating’ – Study Opens Way for Green Alternatives
If consumers had the power, they’d banish most of the power adaptors in their homes.
That’s the primary finding of a new nationwide survey, conducted by Synovate for Green Plug, which revealed that more than 60 percent of American consumers regard the status quo in consumer electronics as “wasteful” or “frustrating.”
In association with Chicago market researcher Synovate, Green Plug asked 1,000 online consumers about their attitude toward purchasing consumer electronics devices, which typically come with external power supplies that don’t work with any other product.
According to the survey, conducted in April, 31 percent of respondents said they regard incompatible power supplies as “wasteful” and have many unused adaptors just lying around, while 30 percent described the situation as “frustrating” — agreeing that forgetting to bring the right charger when leaving the house can prevent the use of an important device such as a laptop, cell phone, camera, or music player. Another 18 percent said that they never thought about the situation before, 13 percent said it doesn’t really bother them, and 8 percent said it’s “costly” — and that they have had to purchase replacements when forgetting to bring the required charger to the office, school or on a trip.
“As our survey demonstrates so clearly, consumers want the power to be free of incompatible power supplies and adaptors,” said Frank Paniagua, Jr., CEO and founder, Green Plug. “If you laid the average consumer’s power cords end-to-end, you might be able to reach the nearest landfill. That’s where hundreds of millions of power supplies will end up this year, as they did last year and the year before that.
“Consumers have had enough,” Paniagua said. “They want fewer devices, they want more efficient devices, they want convenience. And they want green devices. Underscoring our findings, Forrester Research recently revealed that 25 million U.S. adults are willing to spend more for gadgets that use less energy or employ environmentally conscious design. These ‘bright green’ buyers represent the vanguard of an emerging consumer electronics segment and are likely to attract innovative green products from manufacturers in the coming years.”
Green Plug is one of the major sponsors of the Alliance for Universal Power Supplies conference, to be held at PG&E headquarters in San Francisco on June 13. For more information, visit http://www.allianceforuniversalpower.org.
Looking Closer at Consumer Attitudes
- Green with Age. The older you are (and, perhaps, the more consumer electronics devices you’ve accumulated), the more concerned you are about waste. Nearly 43 percent of those in the 45-54 age bracket cited waste as their prime concern, against just 18.5 percent of those 18 to 24. By contrast, that youngest demographic is more concerned about cost than any other age group (14 percent). By a wide margin, 41 percent of those in the 25-34 age bracket called the situation “frustrating.” Those 18 to 24 are least likely to have thought about the problem (23 percent) or be bothered by it (18 percent).
- Affluent Consumers See Waste, Added Costs. Among income groups, those in the highest bracket (with annual incomes greater than $75,000) were most likely to consider the proliferation of power cords as wasteful (36 percent) — a better than 10 point margin over those with incomes of less than $25,000. Interestingly, nearly 10 percent of those in the highest income bracket cited cost as a concern — a greater number than those in the lowest income group.
- For Parents, Incompatibility = Frustration. For households with children, leaving the charger behind is a real issue, trumping concerns about waste and cost. Thirty-four percent of respondents with kids cited the frustration associated with not having the right power cord at hand, against 27 percent of those without children.
- Southerners Greener than Most? On a regional basis, those in the South are most concerned about waste (34 percent), while for Midwesterners, frustration ranks first (also at 34 percent). Those in the Northeast and the Midwest are relatively less concerned about waste (27 percent). Southerners are relatively more concerned about cost (10 percent) than those in any other region.
- Waste and Frustration on the Job. When employment status is factored in, those working part-time are most likely to consider the situation “wasteful” (39 percent), while 36 percent of those employed full-time cite the “frustration” involved in not having the right charger at the right time. Cost is a relatively bigger issue for the self-employed — 12 percent, significantly higher than any other bracket other than those working full-time (10 percent).
The environmentally ugly status quo inspired Green Plug to organize a “What’s Under Your Desk?” photo sweepstakes earlier this spring. The company asked consumers to literally shine a light on the mess of cables that lurks under virtually every desk and capture the scene digitally — and received hundreds of responses from consumers nodding in agreement. The Green Plug “What’s Under Your Desk?” photo posting blog is live through calendar 2008 at http://greenplugcontest.typepad.com.
To demonstrate consumers’ desire for change, Green Plug has also launched a national petition drive calling on Washington to support a universal green power standard – a standard that would enable U.S. manufacturers to remain competitive in consumer electronics and save energy while preventing millions of toxic power supplies from being buried at landfills every year (/http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Green_Plug/).
The Green Plug/Synovate survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. For a full copy of the survey results and a graphic presentation of top-line data, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Green Plug
Green Plug is the first developer of digital technology enabling real-time collaboration between electronic devices and their power sources. The company’s innovative green power components allow manufacturers to standardize on one universal power connector, exceed all current US and European governmental efficiency regulations, and eliminate environmental waste. Consumer electronics, residential and commercial builders, power tools and power supply manufacturers license Green Plug’s embeddable power supply technology to provide universal and safe connections, promote environmentally friendly reuse, make their products more affordable, and generate customer loyalty. Green Plug, headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., is privately held.