Consumers Plan to Shop with a Cause in Mind
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Consumers Plan to Shop with a Cause in Mind

A majority of Americans plans to shop with a cause in mind this holiday season, with 71 percent of consumers saying they are likely to consider a company’s reputation for supporting causes when purchasing gifts.

Paul Holmes

A majority of Americans plans to shop with a cause in mind this holiday season, with 71 percent of consumers saying they are likely to consider a company’s reputation for supporting causes when purchasing gifts. This represents an 11 percent increase over last year and is also one of the highest numbers in the seven years that Boston-based public relations firm Cone has conducted its annual Cone Holiday Trend Tracker.

Cause-related shopping is a convenient way for time-crunched, budget-conscious Americans to give back to their communities during the holiday season. Among the 93 percent of Americans who intend to engage in charitable acts this holiday season, cause-related purchasing actions are the second- and third-most popular activities planned, complementing traditional charitable efforts:
1. Donate personal belongings (77 percent)
2. Purchase a product in which a percentage of the price is donated to a cause (60 percent)
3. Buy from a retailer that supports a cause (55 percent)
4. Write a check to support a cause or charity (53 percent)
5. Volunteer (42 percent)
6. Go to a fundraising event (30 percent)

“In an uncertain economic environment, Americans appreciate that they can easily give back through cause-related shopping,” says Mark Feldman, executive vice president of Cone. “In the seven years that we have been tracking this trend, we have seen an increasing number of companies providing their consumers with opportunities to impact causes. In return, these companies are rewarded with consumer purchasing dollars and loyalty.”

The 2003 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker finds that women are overwhelmingly more supportive than men of cause-related shopping during the holiday season. More than three-fourths of women (77 percent) are likely to consider a company’s reputation for supporting causes when purchasing gifts, compared to 64 percent of men.

Nearly two-thirds of female shoppers (65 percent) say they plan to purchase a product in which a percentage of the price is donated to a cause, compared to 54 percent of male consumers. Women are also more likely to buy holiday gifts this year from retailers that support social issues (60 percent vs. 49 percent).

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