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April 3, 2012

Nielsen Identifies Attributes of the Global, Socially Conscious Consumer — And Uncovers Marketing Insights: Half of Consumers Under Age 40 Willing to Pay Extra for Products and Services from Socially Responsible Companies

Sixty-three percent of global, socially conscious consumers are under age 40, they consult social media when making purchase decisions and are most concerned about environmental, educational and hunger causes, according to a new study from Nielsen, a provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen's Global Corporate Citizenship Survey of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries shows that 46 percent of global consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society. Nielsen defines these consumers as socially conscious consumers. Nielsen's survey shows that overall, younger consumers are more willing to spend extra for products and services from socially responsible companies. Fifty-one percent of all respondents aged 15 to 39 are willing to pay extra for such products and services compared to 37 percent of respondents over age 40. Looking at socially conscious consumers specifically, Nielsen's findings show that 63 percent are under the age of 40. "It's clear that corporate social responsibility efforts resonate with a specific group of consumers," said Nic Covey, vice president of Nielsen Cares, Nielsen's global corporate social responsibility program, in a news release. "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."

Global, Socially Conscious Consumers by Geography

Consumers in Asia Pacific (55%), 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%). According to Nielsen's survey, the highest concentration of socially-conscious consumers is in the Philippines, where 68 percent of respondents are willing to pay extra for products, while the lowest concentration is in the Netherlands, where 21 percent of respondents indicated a willingness to spend more.1

Causes Most Important to the Global Socially Conscious Consumer

Among 18 causes reviewed, Nielsen finds that socially conscious respondents prioritize environmental sustainability (66%), improvements to science, technology, engineering and math education (56%) and the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger (53%) for companies implementing programs.

"Knowing what causes are most important to the socially-conscious consumer may help brands prioritize their social investments," said Covey. "The next step is to understand precisely what causes are important to a brand's individual customers."

Reaching the Global, Socially Conscious Consumer

According to Nielsen's survey, when it comes to brands and advertising, global, socially-conscious consumers trust recommendations from people they know (95%) and look for opinions and information posted by other consumers online (76%). Socially conscious consumers are more likely than other survey respondents to use social media to help make purchase decisions (59% vs. 46% of all respondents).

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

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