Socially Conscious Shoppers

The Lempert Report
August 08, 2014

More and more that consumers are taking on the role of the socially conscious buyer more seriously

According to recent data from Good.Must.Grow, a socially responsible marketing consultancy, consumers are willing to put their money with their mouth is when it comes to giving back.

In a poll of 1,015 Americans, nearly 30% of consumers said they plan to increase the amount of goods and/or services they buy from socially responsible companies in the coming year. The boost in socially responsible purchasing surpassed plans for charitable giving. Only 18% plan to increase charitable giving in 2014, a decline from 21% in 2013. One in five consumers (19%) said they prefer to “give back” by purchasing socially responsible products, while another 39% preferred to split their giving between charities and cause-based brands.

Another interesting finding in the poll was that when evaluating whether or not a company is socially responsible, how the company treats its employees was the most significant factor with 45% rating it as very important. Similarly, 29% surveyed said they avoided buying products from a company because it wasn’t socially responsible (up 25% from 2013). Additionally consequential is the issue of trust, with 65% of consumers only sometimes trusting a company’s claims that it is socially responsible.

It seems more and more that consumers are taking on the role of the socially conscious buyer more seriously. We’ve seen a similar growth in consumers desire to buy better quality ingredients, sustainable or locally sourced for example, and perhaps it’s all tied in with the idea that individuals are seeing themselves as playing a critical role in driving positive change, ahead of major corporations and government.  

Supermarkets should use this as an opportunity to increase their own efforts; for example, isolating and directing customers to brands that are socially conscious, perhaps providing special offers on certain products or even once a week highlighting a brand that is supporting a cause. It’s a win win – with purchases supporting charities and also providing bigger baskets for supermarkets.