Republicans Just as Green as Democrats

Turns Out Shoppers in Red States Are At Least As Likely to Buy Sustainable Products

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Being blue doesn't necessarily mean shopping green, and some of the reddest states at the polls are among the greenest at the grocery checkout, according to an analysis of shopping data by Catalina Marketing.
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True Colors: Catalina Marketing's 'green shopping index,' where 100 is average, is based on a state's share of green shoppers -- those who purchase multiple products with environmental or sustainability claims on a trip -- divided by its share of shoppers in the company's checkout-marketing program.
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Indeed, when it comes to general-merchandise products, green shoppers appear largely red-blue color blind. Catalina, using SAS Institute software to mine and analyze the data, found some of the heaviest "green" shopping in solidly red states such as Idaho, Alaska and Utah.

While the blue Northeast was predictably green, blue-state environmentalist haven California came in with a subpar 85 index score, where 100 is average. And battleground state Florida had the second-lowest green index in the nation, just above Oklahoma.

Catalina defines shoppers as "green" if they buy multiple general-merchandise products that have green positioning.

The index is computed by dividing a state's share of U.S. "green" shoppers by its share of traffic on the Catalina Network, which delivers coupons and, increasingly, ads at checkout.

Disproportionate shopping
Laurie Wachter, senior VP-analytics for Catalina, has some explanations for the surprising findings.

In some cases, green purchases may be heavier at stores outside Catalina's network, such as in California, depressing sales within the network. However, 93% of stores on the system nationwide carry green products.

Hispanic shoppers in some states with heavy shares for brands such as Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s Fabuloso also may have pulled down green indexes in places such as California, Texas and New Mexico.

And, frankly, it doesn't take that many people to turn a red state green. Catalina has found that only 2.7% of shoppers account for 70% of purchases of green general-merchandise products.

Somewhat surprisingly, a separate Catalina study found that green shoppers aren't necessarily organic-food shoppers: There is only 11% overlap between the two segments.

Regardless of where they're sold, green products are getting big -- and profitable.

The average number of "green" shoppers doubled each week between October 2007 and March 2008, Catalina found, and grocery transactions average three times bigger when a green product is in the cart.
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