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Consumers Willing to Pay More to Socially Responsible Firms

social responsiblity , / Credit: Give Back Image via Shutterstock

Companies searching for a reason to implement socially responsible measures should look no further than their bottom line: New research has found that 50 percent of consumers say they will pay more for products offered by socially responsible companies.

That percentage is up from last year, when 45 percent of shoppers said they would be willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies.

Though consumers from all age groups said they would buy products from companies that give back, shoppers age 30 and younger were the most likely to buy products from socially responsible companies. Additionally, 50 percent of consumers ages 40 to 44 said they would pay more for socially responsible products — up from 38 percent two years ago.

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Companies are looking to market themselves around those efforts, the researchers found. 

"While cause-marketing programs seem to resonate most strongly among younger respondents, the rapid change in sentiment among middle-aged consumers expands the cause opportunity for brands," said Nic Covey, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Nielsen, which conducted the research. "Today, brands can confidently focus purpose messaging on both younger and older consumers."

Consumers from all over the world share those feelings: People from 74 percent of the countries surveyed said they would spend more for products from socially responsible companies. Respondents in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India were among the most likely to pay more for socially responsible products. In contrast, European consumers were among the least likely to pay extra.

"In countries where skepticism toward corporate social responsibility runs high, cause-marketers face an uphill battle," said Covey. "In these markets, especially, social-impact programs must be incontestably authentic to a company's business objectives, vision and values."

The research was based on the responses of 29,000 online consumers in nearly 60 countries.