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Nielsen: Most global, socially conscious consumers consult social media when making purchasing decisions

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A new survey from Nielsen is hoping to shed light on the world’s socially conscious consumers, who are those that are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that implement programs designed to give back to society.

According to the company’s Global Corporate Citizenship survey — which pooled responses from more than 28,000 Internet users in 56 countries from Aug. 31, 2011 to Sept. 16, 2011 — showed that 46% of those surveyed are considered global, socially conscious consumers. Among them, nearly two-thirds (63%) are under 40 years old.

"It’s clear that corporate social responsibility efforts resonate with a specific group of consumers," said Nic Covey, VP of Nielsen Cares, Nielsen’s global corporate social responsibility program. "Marketers need to know who those consumers are in order to maximize the social and business return of their cause marketing efforts. This understanding allows brands to engage in social impact efforts that appeal to the right consumers with the right causes and through the right channels.

One crucial thing these consumers had in common, Nielsen said, was their increased likeliness to consult social media to help make purchase decisions (59% versus 46% of all respondents). Additionally, when it comes to brands and advertising, global, socially conscious consumers said they trusted recommendations from people they know (95%) and looked for opinions and information posted by other consumers online (76%).

"In order for cause marketing efforts to affect sales, customers must first be aware of a company’s efforts," Covey added. "Nielsen’s information indicates that social media is a critical tool for effective cause marketing."

It is important to note, however, that the geography for this demographic reaches far and wide. Nielsen found that more than half of those in the Asia Pacific region (55%), followed by the Middle East and Africa (53%) and Latin America (49%) are more willing to pay extra for products and services from socially responsible companies than consumers in North America (35%) and Europe (32%). And among 18 causes reviewed, Nielsen found that respondents were most concerned about environmental (66%), educational (56%) and hunger causes (53%) for companies implementing programs.

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Growing electronic needs

BY Barbara White-Sax

Consumer electronic accessories are a big business, and drug stores increasingly are grabbing more share. In 2011, mobile phone accessories sales totaled $1.24 billion, up 10% from 2010, according to NPD Group.


“Accessories are very inexpensive, and they have a large base of users,” said Stephen Baker, NPD VP and senior industry analyst for consumer technology. “Every customer that’s coming into a drug store has a need for screen protectors, ear buds, headphones or cases. So there’s a lot of opportunity to sell products that generally retail for under $20.”


Gary Rep, VP sales and marketing for FiFo Wireless, said more than 96% of Americans have cell phones, and the average consumer spends $69 or more on cell phone accessories. FiFo created a floor-stand spinner rack that brings together the most popular cell phone products — most retailing for $11.99 — in a turnkey display that takes up 1 sq. ft. of floor space.


Bluetooth accessories generally exceed the $11.99 price point, but consumers, especially in business areas, are willing to spend on products that have become a necessity.


The accessories segment offers steep margins. Mobile phone accessories, ear buds and headphones are some of the fastest-growing segments of the category. “There’s been a real rebirth in the headphone category. The growth [is in] very high-end products that bear the name of rappers. The category has become a fashion statement,” said Alan Wolf, senior 
editor at Twice magazine.

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Washing up

BY Barbara White-Sax

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble has brought innovation to the laundry detergent category with Tide Pods, a three-chamber unit 
liquid-dose detergent that cleans, fights stains and brightens all in one premeasured product. Tide Pods, the first product of its kind on the market, contain three chambers that separate the components so they remain stable and potent until the moment they mix in the wash. The 3-in-1 product reduces steps, making laundry simpler and less time-consuming. P&G hopes to trade consumers up; at a suggested retail price of $9.99 for 35 pods, the product retails for about 25% more than traditional Tide. Testing for the product revealed that more than 95% of consumers said the product “provided excellent results with minimal time and effort.”

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