Asia-Pacific Consumers Most Committed to CSR - Report
16 July 2014 at 10:27 am
Fifty-five per cent of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact, according to a new study by Nielsen.
The propensity to buy socially responsible brands is strongest in Asia-Pacific (including Australia) (64 per cent), Latin America (63 per cent) and Middle East/Africa (63 per cent). The numbers for North America and Europe are 42 and 40 per cent, respectively.
“Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions,” global leader of public development and sustainability for Nielsen Amy Fenton said.
“This behaviour is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands.
“It’s no longer a question if consumers care about social impact. Consumers do care and show they do through their actions. Now the focus is on determining how your brand can effectively create shared value by marrying the appropriate social cause and consumer segments.”
The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries to understand: how passionate consumers are about sustainable practices when it comes to purchase considerations; which consumer segments are most supportive of ecological or other socially responsible efforts; and which social issues/causes are attracting the most concern.
More than half of global respondents (52 per cent) say they have purchased at least one product or service in the past six months from a socially responsible company, with respondents in Latin America (65 per cent), Asia-Pacific (59 per cent) and Middle East/Africa (59 per cent) exceeding the global average.
Sustainable purchase considerations are most influenced by the packaging in Asia-Pacific (63 per cent), Latin America (62 per cent) and Middle East/Africa (62 per cent) and to a lesser extent in Europe (36 per cent) and North America (32 per cent).
Some 52 per cent of global respondents in Nielsen’s survey say their purchase decisions are partly dependent on the packaging – they check the labeling first before buying to ensure the brand is committed to positive social and environmental impact.
To determine if the sentiments expressed by respondents are supported by actual retail performance, Nielsen also reviewed retail sales data for a cross-section of both consumable and non-consumable categories across 20 brands in nine countries.
These brands either included sustainability claims on packaging or actively promoted their sustainability actions through marketing efforts. The results from a March 2014 year-over-year analysis show an average annual sales increase of 2 per cent for products with sustainability claims on the packaging and a lift of 5 per cent for products that promoted sustainability actions through marketing programs.
A review of 14 other brands without sustainability claims or marketing shows a sales rise of only 1 per cent.
The “Sustainable Mainstream”
In an effort to separate the passive eco-friendly consumer from the passionate, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), a Nielsen strategic business collaborator, conducted a nine-country online study to understand how global attitudes and behaviors about sustainability engagement are changing.
Consumers were clustered into five segments to quantify what attracts them to sustainability actions.
The findings reveal that two-thirds of the “sustainable mainstream” population (a cluster of three of the five segments) will choose products from sustainable sources over other conventional products.
These consumers will buy as many eco-friendly products as they can and have personally changed their behavior to minimize their impact on global climate change.
Additionally, these consumers are more likely to buy products repeatedly from a company if they know the company is mindful of its impact on the environment and society.
The findings show that Millennials (age 21-34) appear more responsive to sustainability actions. Among global respondents in Nielsen’s survey who are responsive to sustainability actions, half are Millennials; they represent 51 per cent of those who will pay extra for sustainable products and 51 percent of those who check the packaging for sustainable labeling.
The survey polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.