SFC Releases Consumer Study Findings

Over 96% of home furnishings purchasers will choose eco-friendly home furnishings if they like the style of the products and the price is within their budget, according to findings from the Sustainable Furnishings Council’s latest Green Home Furnishings Consumer Study. Though interest in purchasing has increased steadily in the twelve years that the survey has been fielded, respondents in the 2021 study still lack awareness about eco-attributes when it comes to residential furnishings.

“Our latest study presents both challenges and opportunities for home furnishings manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and interior designers,” explains SFC Executive Director Susan Inglis. “And cause for great optimism… all respondents expressed at least a 90% level of concern about the range of environmental issues we presented. In my mind the most significant finding of this year’s survey is that 86% of consumers say that it is important that their furnishings are made in ways that do not harm our environment.”

Key findings from the 2021 study, which was conducted and underwritten by MOCA+ February 12 - March 4, 2021 include the following:

  • Most respondents (89%) have purchased environmentally safe products, with a concentration on home-related products (particularly among women), such as cleaning supplies (82%) and paper products (74%). For those who have not purchased environmentally safe furnishings products, a lack of awareness (42%) and cost (17%) were the primary obstacles cited.
  • Most respondents (67%) have a positive reaction when they hear a product claiming to be good for the environment, and want to learn more (62%.)
  • A whopping 93% of respondents expressed concern about hazardous indoor air quality; 43% said they are directly affected, while half describe themselves as not directly affected but believe everyone should be concerned. 91% expressed concern about global warming, and 65% identify themselves as directly effected.
  • As in past years, the three most important attributes respondents look for when purchasing furniture are style (100%), quality (98%), and a fair price (95%.)  This year the fourth most important attribute (86%) is being made with materials and processes that do not harm the environment.
  • By far the majority of respondents (87%) are willing to pay at least 5 to 10% more for furnishings they consider eco-friendly, including wood furniture that is certified as responsibly harvested and for home furnishings certified to be environmentally safe.
  • Roughly half the respondents (47%) spent $1,000 or more on household furnishings in the past year, and 42% expect to increase that amount over the next year.
  • On average, respondents expect their furniture purchases to last at least 10 years.
  • Asked about specific eco-attributes, respondents called out durable, higher quality materials (98%) and materials safe from substances that could cause harm (97%) as very important.

The survey sample consisted of U.S. homeowners, both men and women, between the ages of 30 and 60 with household incomes of $50,000 or more. All respondents had spent at least $500 in home furnishings in the previous 12 months.

The full survey report is available from SFC, at no cost to members, and is the subject of the May Sustainability Essentials webinar, broadcast live on May 20 and recorded for the SFC YouTube channel.