Will You Make 2017 the Year of the Conscious Consumer?

By Chris Le Tocq

Published February 6, 2017
Last modified February 6, 2017

More and more companies are choosing to make positive changes to the way they operate. And when they do, they’re looking beyond themselves, aiming to impact the communities where they do business.

Of course, when it comes to improving ourselves, we secretly (or not so secretly) hope others will congratulate us on our efforts: There’s nothing like some strong, positive reinforcement for hard work. Does the same hold true for businesses? When they stand up in the public interest—when they demonstrate responsibility for social, labor, and environmental sustainability issues—what comes of it? How do consumers feel about businesses’ good deeds, and how do they show it?

To find out, Union+Webster conducted a survey to discover more about the relationships between consumers and businesses, with a focus on community responsibility.

Introducing Conscious Consumers
Our research covered seven geographic regions around the globe, with representation spanning consumers from the U.S./Canada eastward to Australia—over 7,000 respondents in total.

The survey had three main parts. First, we asked consumers to imagine the price of a recent purchase they’d made, either for personal or business use. Then, we introduced three fictional awards recognizing a company’s community responsibility efforts—awards like the Global Fair Labor Award, earned for a business’s improvements to its working conditions and wages. Finally, we asked consumers to imagine choosing to purchase that same product with a choice between two companies: one that had won one of these three awards for its “good” behavior, and one that had not.

Our findings show that 77% of consumers prefer to purchase from businesses demonstrating community responsibility. Not only that, they’re also willing to spend either 5% or 10% more with these companies.

Meet the Conscious Consumers. Now, how can common good companies cozy up to them?

Getting in good with the Conscious Consumers
Taking up practices that improve the social, labor, and sustainability conditions where businesses operate are effective in appealing to Conscious Consumers. But common good companies also need to put work into promoting these efforts, letting consumers know how they stand up for what they care about.

Why? As the marketplace expands, Conscious Consumers will only continue to grow in audience size, influence, and purchasing power, relative to the pool of all consumers. It’s not a fad or a trend or an ambitious new exercise regime—Conscious Consumerism is a way of thinking that’s here to stay.

Want to get the full story? Check out the whitepaper, In Good Company: The Value of Conscious Consumers.

This is a guest post from Chris Le Tocq, a problem solver, expert analyst, and a technology researcher. He has worked as a principal analyst at Gartner, Dataquest, and Computer Intelligence, and currently holds the esteemed title of master strategist at Union+Webster.