Do you care if the companies you buy from are socially responsible?
Do consumers care if the companies they buy products and services from are socially responsible? Very definitely, according to various surveys from Neilson. And those in the developing world seem to care just that much more
Consumers in Asia Pacific (55%), the Middle East and Africa (53%) and Latin America (49%) are more willing to pay extra for products and services from socially-responsible companies than consumers in North America (35%) and Europe (32%).
The research shows that, more than ever, consumers expect more from the businesses where they shop. And their motives for buying such products are primarily altruistic, with most reporting that they view their purchases as a way to help improve society or reduce environmental damage.
Sixty-three percent of these "socially-conscious consumers" are under age 40, and regularly consult social media about making purchase decisions and their priority causes are environment, education and hunger.
And this trend is picking up speed. In the 18 months since Nielsen published its initial “Global, Socially Conscious Consumer” report, the percentage of shoppers around the world willing to reward companies that give back to society grew by 5% — increasing to 50% from 45%.The studies used stated willingness to spend more on goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society as a proxy for how much consumers around the world care about brand investments in social impact.
The results provide one measure for whether consumers really care about cause marketing, conscious capitalism or other pursuits of corporate social impact and how they might reward the companies they view as socially responsible, Nelison maintains.
Not everyone sees things the same way, however, branding such practices as merely marketing strategies masquerading as selfless and altruistic corporate behavior.
"Corporate social responsibility in its current form is bullshit – a marketing ploy whose costs are a rounding error when compared to the actual cost of complying with the public interest," says one critic.
Do you care if the companies you buy from are socially responsible? How do you make such a decision?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money