How Social, Health and Environmental Causes Shape Consumer Behavior

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

internet-marketing-conceptAn interesting side effect of the rise of the internet is a growing concern among consumers about the social, environmental or health issues surrounding the products they buy. It’s not that these issues didn’t matter to people in the past, but the internet has made it very easy for consumers to research the companies they buy from and it’s easier for people to spread negative information about companies with poor corporate responsibility. Several recent studies from Nielsen show just how much social, health and environmental issues shape consumer behavior and action.

Over the past two months, Nielsen has conducted several studies about consumer attitudes toward companies based on social issues. According to the most recent study from Nielsen, 53% of men and 52% of women have bought a product or service because they believed the company was committed to making a positive social and environmental impact.

The researchers noted that there are several benefits for companies who have positive social impacts. When it comes to revenue, companies that communicated their sustainability efforts through marketing programs see a 5% increase in sales. Anything that a company does that’s environmentally friendly or helps the community should be easy to find on the company’s website, blog or social media channels.

The same report also showed that being a responsible corporation can help a company recruit workers and volunteers. According to the Nielsen study, 67% of global consumers prefer to work for a company that is committed to positive social and environmental impact. Similarly, 50% of global consumers actively engage in volunteer work or donate to social causes.

Consumers around the world are also becoming more concerned about the ingredients in the food they bought. A lot of food production methods have come under scrutiny in recent years and the effect can be seen in another recent Nielsen study. For example, according to a Nielsen study, three out of four (76%) global consumers are willing to pay more for foods that promote health benefits.

Genetically modified foods are also an important topic for shoppers. The Nielsen report found that 43% of global consumers say the absence of genetically modified organisms in a product is very important to their purchase decisions. This feeling is even stronger in Europe, where 47% of shoppers consider it very important that products be GMO free.

In North America, consumers are also concerned about the sweeteners used in foods. The Nielsen researchers reported that 32% of North Americans say the absence of high fructose corn syrup in a product is very important to their purchase decisions. This is higher than the global average of 26% of consumers who are concerned about corn syrup.

This data from Nielsen shows the importance of keeping up with the sentiments of consumers. People have always been concerned about the effect the products they buy have on their community, their health, and the environment. However, now more than ever, people are putting that concern into action by changing their shopping habits. Business owners must remember that they are competing in an ever-increasing global marketplace. Consumers will gravitate toward the companies and brands that match their ideals. It’s important that people view a company in a positive light.

For more information on this subject, read this article on a similar study which examined growing consumer interest in eco-friendly companies.

 


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