Where Are The Most Socially Conscious Consumers?

Where Are The Most Socially Conscious Consumers?

Companies looking for consumers with a social conscience—or those who are willing to pay extra for products and services that give back to society—will have an easier time finding eager consumers in India and the Philippines than in Russia, Belgium or Estonia.

In Nielsen’s latest Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility of 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries, the density of respondents willing to spend more on products and services from companies that give back varies considerably across the 58 countries Nielsen examined. Broadly speaking, European respondents were less likely to pay more for goods and services from companies that give back—just 36 percent of consumers in the region said they would do so. Meanwhile in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, more than two-thirds of respondents said they’d pay extra. In India, three-quarters of respondents agreed that they would do so.

What makes consumers in India nearly three times more likely to reward companies that give back than those in Estonia and Belgium? It might be because consumers in India already have high corporate social responsibly (CSR) expectations. In fact, expectations in India are so great that a bill working its way through parliament contains a clause mandating CSR investments from certain companies[1]. Conversely, a broader cynicism toward business seems to prevail in Europe. A study released by the European Commission earlier this year showed that 41 percent of citizens in European Union member countries felt that the overall influence of companies on society was negative, more than citizens in other major economies[2].

“In countries where skepticism toward corporate social responsibility runs high, cause-marketers face an uphill battle,” said Nic Covey, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Nielsen. “In these markets especially, social impact programs must be incontestably authentic to a company’s business objectives, vision and values.”


Other findings include:

  • Willingness to spend more on socially responsible products by demographic group.
  • A gap between willingness to spend more on socially responsible products and self-reporting purchasing habits.
  • Strategies for how to engage with socially conscious consumers.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Consumers Who Care Report.


[1] Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, “The Companies Bill, 2012,” December 2012

[2] European Commission, “How Companies Influence Our Society: Citizens’ View,” April 2013