by Alex Palmer | April 14, 2015
Rebates and cost-saving incentives are key to driving interest in energy-saving products, a new study finds. The new research, from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, the incentives division of Blackhawk Network, found wide awareness of energy-efficient products but much potential for retailers to further fuel sales with consumer incentives and promotions.

The study found that 93 percent of consumers are aware of LED and CFL bulbs, while 84 percent know of the government-supported ENERGY STAR labels for appliances. While helping the environment (49 percent) and saving energy (71 percent) were important factors for driving the purchase of these products, Blackhawk found that long-term savings on a shopper's energy bill was the most popular reason someone would select an energy-efficient product, cited by 80 percent of respondents.

But while savings clearly incentivizes shoppers, Rodney Mason, global vice president of marketing with Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, explained to Incentive that retailers and utility providers must do more to alert shoppers of the benefits of energy-efficient products with offers of rebates and other incentives. A majority of respondents (53 percent) said they were unaware of rebates or incentives available for these products.

"Our survey showed that the top places consumers become aware of these rebates and incentives are in the stores where they shop for appliances and from TV, newspaper or radio ads," he added. "These would be good places to continue increasing visibility, which should help to bolster sales of energy-efficient products even further. "

Those who were aware learned about the offerings through the store where they shop for appliance (42 percent), through TV or other advertisements (38 percent), or via alerts from their utility companies (36 percent). Retailer websites (14 percent) and online advertisements (14 percent) were some of the least likely places shoppers heard about energy-friendly incentives.

Mason emphasized that the study's findings were not limited to energy-efficient products: It demonstrates that cost-savings remain a top consumer incentive more generally. 

"Although the recession is over, consumers' deal-finding habits are here to stay," said Mason. "Incentives, like rebates, are a great way for retailers of all types to offer shoppers the very lowest price - more so than coupons or point-of-sale discounts. I recommend that a rebate strategy be a part of every retailer's marketing mix."