Energy-efficient devices score high among Indians: survey

Global market research firm GfK has released the results of a new survey showing the high environmental awareness of Indian consumers, although most are still conscious of costs when purchasing energy efficient appliances.

Most Indians now prefer more energy-efficient electronics, with over 92 per cent of 1,000 survey respondents agreeing they would buy the product even though this may be more expensive, said global market research firm GfK.

The Germany-headquartered firm revealed on Thursday the results of a survey on environmental awareness among consumers in India. They noted that over 80 per cent of Indians who participated in the survey showed positive beliefs and attitudes towards ‘green behaviour’, including supporting public transport with less carbon emissions and carrying out energy-saving renovation measures.

About 89 per cent of consumers also said they are willing to pay more for products that are manufactured and can be used with less harm to the environment.

GfK Consumer Choices managing director Nikhil Mathur noted, however, that despite the willingness of consumers, they are still cautious when it comes to buying home appliances that brand themselves as energy-saving technology. These consumers would highly consider cost before purchasing such products.

“Those who agreed with the statements (in the survey) are prepared to spend on energy efficiency and energy-saving measures only if they are economically viable, and we noted that the higher the household income, the more people have this attitude,” explained Mathur.

The consumer sentiments are complemented by data from GfK’s retail tracking of home appliances, which revealed the rising demand in electric appliances with inverter technology and high energy saving ratings. Among a list of such products, air conditioning and refrigerators with energy-efficient ratings came on top and have been driving strong sales in 2013, rising by 37 and 10 per cent in volume sales, respectively.

Those who agreed with the statements (in the survey) are prepared to spend on energy efficiency and energy-saving measures only if they are economically viable

Nikhil Mathur, GfK Consumer Choices managing director

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency, India’s energy conservation body, imposes stricter energy ratings on these appliances, since these consume more energy compared to other electrical devices. 

In January this year, the government agency tightened energy efficiency standards and updated energy ratings for air-conditioners by one level and those for refrigerators by two levels, reported the Times of India. This means a five-star air-conditioning unit, which is the most energy-efficient, will be relegated to a four-star and a five-star refrigerator will become three-star. The report, however, did not elaborate on what air-conditioner will be classified as the new five-star unit.

Energy efficiency and conservation are particularly significant issues in India due to the high costs of electricity in the country and its dependence on fossil fuels, primarily coal.  

The GfK survey is part of an extensive research on environmental awareness in India and 13 other countries across the world. This is also in tandem with the GfK Global Green Index that was started in 2011 to understand consumer attitudes on environmental protection and sustainability.

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