Is Inflation Eating Into Consumers’ Support Of Purpose-Driven Companies?

16 01 2023

By Anne Field from Forbes.com • Reposted January 16, 2023

Ten years after it was launched, an annual index measuring U.S. consumers’ socially responsible attitudes and behaviors shows mixed progress.

GMG_2022_CCSi2
The Conscious Consumer Spending index resultsGOOD.MUST.GROW

On the one hand, after coming in at a record low of 39 in 2020, the index rose to an all-time high of 51 the next year. In 2022, there was a slight decrease to 48.

On the other, the 2022 result was the second highest since the survey began.

That’s according to the Conscious Consumer Spending Index (CCSIndex), which gauges the extent to which consumers are—or aren’t—embracing conscious consumerism, charitable giving and environmentally-oriented practices.

“After those results in 2021, we expected to see at least a slight decline this year,” says Heath Shackleford, CEO of Good.Must.Grow, a socially responsible marketing consulting firm that administers the research. “But the vast majority of consumers continue to feel purpose is important when they shop.”

The CCSIndex is calculated by assessing such matters as the importance consumers place on buying from socially responsible companies, how they’re supporting those products and services and intent to increase their patronage of such companies. For this year’s research, 1,005 Americans were surveyed. According to Good.Must.Grow, thanks to the design of the index’s design, even a one-point change indicates a meaningful shift in consumer sentiment.

Higher Prices 

Shackleford points to inflation as the main culprit for this year’s decrease. That’s because socially responsible products tend to be more expensive—or at least, are perceived as carrying a higher price tag—than their non-responsible counterparts, he says. Only 57% reported buying goods from socially responsible brands in 2022 compared to 64% in 2021. In 2013, the year of the inaugural index, it was 62%.

Young girl exploring organic body care goods at an open-air market with zero waste concept
Teenager shopping at a summer market. Photo: GETTY

The research shows that, says Shackleford, “A hard core of Americans will support purposeful brands no matter what.” But most of the country, even if they believe such purchases are important, feel they can’t afford to buy them during a time when their purchasing power is down.

At the same time, “A vast majority of consumers feels purpose is important when they shop,” he says. In addition, in 2013, 25% reported boycotting brands that weren’t socially responsible compared to 32% in 2022.

The lesson for companies is: They have to meet consumer expectations for factors like price, in addition to their mission, according to Shackleford.

Other Findings

Additional noteworthy results include:

A growing pessimism among Americans. Respondents indicated a growing sense that the world is getting worse. In 2019, 36% agreed with that statement, increasing to 42% in 2020 and 44% in 2021. In 2022, it was 45%. Also, while those who say the world is getting worse have a lower index score than people who say it’s getting better, the lowest score was for respondents who feel things are pretty much the same.

Decline in charitable giving. The portion of people who made financial contributions to a nonprofits declined by 20% from 2013 to 2022. Those volunteering also decreased.

Votes for the most socially responsible enterprise. For the eighth year, the poll asked respondents for the company or organization they first think of when they think of socially responsible enterprises. The top five: Amazon, Google, the Salvation Army, Apple and Walmart. Amazon, which has topped the list for four years in a row, received twice as many votes as Google in 2022. For the first time, TOMS, an iconic social enterprise, fell off the list. It was the top brand for the first two years of the poll.

To see the original post, follow this link. https://www.forbes.com/sites/annefield/2022/12/18/is-inflation-eating-into-consumers-support-of-purpose-driven-companies/?sh=1d67225a7c7c

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Nielsen: The Global, Socially Conscious Consumer

28 03 2012

In a new global research report, Nielsen has identified a segment of the population they call the Global Socially Conscious Consumer.  

  • Two thirds (66%) of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society. 
  • They prefer to work for these companies (62%), and invest in these companies (59%). 
  • Still nearly half (46%) say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from these companies. 

In the study, respondents were asked if they prefer to buy products and services from companies that implement programs that give back to society. Anticipating a positive response bias, respondents were also asked whether they would be willing to pay extra for those services. For the purposes of this study, Nielsen defines the “socially conscious consumer” as those who say they would be willing to pay the extra.

According to Nielsen, “Cause marketing won’t work with all customer segments—some simply don’t care—but the research suggests that there is a segment of socially conscious consumers that cause marketers should pay attention to.”

New findings from a Nielsen survey of more than 28,000 online respondents from 56 countries around the world provide fresh insights to help businesses better understand the right audience for cause marketers, which programs resonate most strongly with this audience, and what marketing methods may be most effective in reaching these consumers.

Thanks to a tweet from our friend John Gerzema for pointing us to this research which he believes is in line with the findings in his book Spend Shift.