Several studies that I’ve highlighted in the past couple of months suggest that consumers are increasing their support of companies that effectively show their commitment to social causes ranging from the environment to cancer research. In fact, consumer buzz about what’s fashionable and relevant these days may be more closely linked to the causes a corporation is supporting than to the type of brand-name jeans they’re selling. This new attitude also seems to extend to America’s youth.
According to C&R Research, children as young as 6 understand the concept of social causes and will buy the products of companies that are supporting their social cause. While about 20% of kids in the 6‑to-10 year old group make purchases with a social cause in mind, that percentage increases to nearly 50% in the teen age group. Marketers will want to take notice of this connection because children spend as much as $43 billion on goods annually. And the dollar impact doesn’t stop there. C&R Research senior vice president Brenda Hurley emphasizes that “20 percent of the teens in our panel said they had asked their parents to buy particular products because of their support of a cause.”
The study shows that kids have favorite causes such as:
- Child abuse
- Animal welfare
- Drug abuse
- World hunger
As with the adult market, Hurley cautions marketers to proceed cautiously. “This is a group that's well-informed and not without some degree of cynicism…The authenticity factor is critical here.” The marketers who get the mix of social cause and product promotion right stand to gain fans who could turn into lifelong customers.[source: YouthBeat, C&R Research, 11.03.09]