Designing a Consumer-Centric Energy Label Awareness Campaign in Kenya
In 2019 Kenya introduced its first energy label for refrigerators, and over the next few years will extend the labelling program to other essential appliances like air conditioners and lighting. CLASP is collaborating with Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority to conduct a consumer awareness campaign on the refrigerator label, aimed at empowering consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and driving them towards high-efficiency products.
The Role of Energy Labels in Market Transformation
Rising income, availability of improved and efficient refrigerator units, and increased electrification of rural areas is leading to rapid growth of the domestic refrigerator market in Kenya. However, inefficient refrigerators can saddle users with high electricity bills and place further strain on the national grid.
Energy labelling is a critical component of national market transformation efforts. Labels enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions, by differentiating high-efficiency products from average and low efficiency choices, and to make decisions based on the lifecycle costs of appliances. In 2019, Kenya introduced its first energy label, for domestic refrigerators, requiring manufacturers to display the label for all products sold on the market.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) requested support from CLASP to design and run an energy label consumer awareness campaign, as consumers and retailers have limited knowledge and understanding of the purpose and utility of the energy label. The campaign will focus on the refrigerator label, as well as establish brand recognition around Kenyan energy efficiency labels for subsequent campaigns on other products covered by energy performance standards.
The consumer awareness campaign work is supported by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) and the Heising Simons Foundation.
What Do Consumers Care About in a Refrigerator?
Prior to campaign development, CLASP and local surveyors conducted a comprehensive baseline survey of refrigerator consumers in Kenya to better understand user demographics, factors they consider when making purchasing decisions and awareness of the energy label. The team collected and analyzed data from 904 consumers in four major cities—Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret.
The analysis found that the majority of users (81%) care about their products’ energy consumption, but few (27%) were tracking it in practice. Further, when asked if they were satisfied with their products, 84% of customers said that yes, they were satisfied. However, among consumers who were dissatisfied, 50% reported dissatisfaction as a result of high energy consumption.
Consumers ranked price and size as the most important factors when purchasing a refrigerator, with only 43% ranking energy consumption as a top consideration.
Awareness of the Energy Label
The majority of consumers (66%) did not recognize the Kenyan energy label and a further 85% did not know what it meant. Despite not knowing the purpose of the label, 66% of consumers said they would be more likely to purchase a refrigerator if it had an energy label, assuming the label indicated a better-quality product.
Respondents indicated that they would be interested in knowing more about the label, and the majority (82%) said that if they better understood the label, it would influence their purchase choice.
Developing a Consumer-Centric Campaign
CLASP is currently working with a Nairobi-based design firm to develop a campaign based on the feedback from the baseline survey. The exciting campaign will primarily run on digital platforms, incorporating messaging about the utility of the energy label and encourage customers to purchase higher performing products, despite higher upfront product costs. The campaign will also include in-person retailer awareness trainings in three major cities to ensure that salespeople are equipped to educate customers on the label usage.
Higher-efficiency products usually retail at a higher initial cost, despite long-term savings on electricity bills. While consumers may be initially hesitant to make the investment in a more expensive product, the campaign will emphasize the long-term monetary savings and additional benefits of better performing appliances.
The key messaging, ‘look for the stars, find the savings,’ will encourage consumers to seek out products with more stars (symbolizing levels of efficiency) to reap long-term financial and energy savings. CLASP and marketing partners are currently conducting message testing through focus group discussions, before launching the digital campaign in July.
For further reading on CLASP’s cooling work in Kenya:
- Kenya’s new AC Standards Increase Efficiency Baseline While Reducing Harmful Refrigerants
- Accelerating Sustainable Cooling in Kenya
- CLASP Leads Kenya Government Agencies on Study Tour of India Cooling Efficiency Programs
- CLASP Hosts Kenya Room Air Conditioner and Refrigerator Energy Efficiency Workshop
In addition to the campaign in Kenya, under K-CEP CLASP is also conducting a market survey to understand how a revised label will influence consumers’ purchase decisions in Thailand. Based on this survey, CLASP will provide a report with recommendations to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to raise the ambition and impact of the label on both industry and consumer levels.