Twelve percent of US adults — some 25 million Americans — are willing to pay extra for consumer electronics that use less energy or come from a company that is environmentally friendly according to a new survey by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). These “bright greens” are the vanguard of an emerging consumer market segment that will be an attractive target for technology companies.

The Forrester report is based on a survey of 5,000 US adults.

“The green leadership position is open: Which manufacturer will create the iconic ‘Prius’ product in consumer electronics?” said Forrester Research Senior Vice President Christopher Mines.

The Forrester survey identified three distinct segments of US technology consumers:

  • Bright greens are 12 percent of US adults. These consumers are concerned about the environment and strongly agree that they would pay more for consumer electronics products that save energy or come from a company that is environmentally responsible.
  • Green consumers are another 41 percent of US adults. These 90 million consumers share concerns about environmental issues, but do not strongly agree that they would pay more for environmentally friendly products.
  • Non-greens are the remaining 47 percent of US adults. The rest of the population, 96 million Americans, do not (yet) share the greens’ concerns about the environment or global warming.

Among the major PC brands, Apple’s customer base is the greenest, with 17 percent of its customers in the bright green consumer category. HP’s Compaq brand ranks second, with 13 percent of its customers in the bright green category.

Many of the major consumer electronic manufacturers, including Apple, Dell, HP, Sony, and Toshiba, have taken early steps to green their operations and products. But moving forward, marketers and designers of consumer technology products and services will change product marketing and product design to embrace green principles like energy efficiency, lower-impact manufacturing, longer product life cycles, and recycleability.

“All the green efforts of consumer technology manufacturers so far have been one-size-fits-all: They are not targeted at a particular segment of consumers, but apply across the board to a company’s products, manufacturing, and supply chain,” said Mines. “We fully expect green technology consumers to further emerge as a target segment for style-conscious electronics manufacturers as the industry moves beyond beige-box design.”

The report, “In Search Of Green Technology Consumers,” is currently available to Forrester RoleView™ clients and can also be purchased directly at