4 in 10 Americans Have Boycotted A Brand In the Past Year Due to Its Irresponsible Behavior

October 7, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | CSR & Environmental | Hispanic | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

Cone-Americans-CSR-Related-Actions-Oct2013Americans are looking to get engaged with brands’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, and many will punish brands for irresponsible behavior, says Cone Communications [download page] in newly-released data. The new figures expand on earlier data concerning the attitudes of citizens on a global scale, this time delving further into the attitudes of American respondents. According to the survey results, 88% of Americans would stop buying a company’s products if they learned of the company’s irresponsible or deceptive business practices. Roughly half that proportion (42%) claim to have done so in the past year. Interestingly, that figure lagged the global average of 55% having boycotted a brand.

While fewer Americans (29%) have researched a company’s business practices or support of social and environmental issues, some 38% have told friends or family about a company’s corporate responsibility efforts and 54% have bought a product with a social and/or environmental benefit.

The study looks into some key demographics – following are some highlights from the findings:

  • 33% of African-Americans believe they can have a significant positive impact on critical social issues through their purchasing decisions, versus 25% of the general population;
  • Hispanics are more likely than the average American to consider a company’s CSR commitments and behaviors when deciding which products or services to recommend to others (87% vs. 82%);
  • 62% of Hispanics claim to use social media to engage with companies around social and environmental issues, compared to the 51% national average;
  • Millennials are less likely than the average American to want companies to focus on economic development, and more likely to want them to pay attention to issues such as poverty and hunger, the environment, human rights and education;
  • 36% of Millennials have researched a company’s business practices in the past year, compared to the 29% average; and
  • 26% of Millennials have used social media to share negative information about companies they feel aren’t living up to their promises, compared to 20% of respondents on average.

About the Data: Cone Communications partnered with Ebiquity Research (formerly Echo Research) to field its second comprehensive survey of American attitudes, perceptions and behaviors around CSR. It conducted an online survey of 1,270 adult consumers in the United States, broadly describing “corporate social responsibility” to respondents as “companies changing their business practices and giving their support to help address the social and environmental issues the world faces today.”

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