Asian consumers favour brands that focus on CSR

12 November 2009

HONG KONG: A majority of consumers in China, Japan and India would like brands to display a heightened commitment to matters relating to corporate social responsibility, according to a new study from Edelman.

The PR agency's latest Goodpurpose survey found that 59% of people in Japan thought companies should give social issues an equal weighting with their business priorities.

In India, this figure stood at 56%, while 53% of participants in China agreed with the suggestion that corporations should try and take a balanced approach to their activities.

Contributors in these nations also believed that organisations which failed to demonstrate a requisite degree of concern for the environment would be regarded less favourably.

More specifically, this view was held by 82% of Chinese adults, along with 75% of their counterparts in India, and 62% of the sample in Japan.
In the same vein, most respondents displayed a preference for companies which supported local manufacturers, rather than designer options that failed to do so.

Furthermore, 76% of Indians would actively recommend brands connected with good causes, while 83% of Chinese shoppers have previously chosen to pay more for these products rather than buy lower-cost alternatives that do not boast such credentials.

With regard to communications, 67% of people across the three markets assessed argued marketers should direct funds away from advertising and towards good causes.

This sentiment reached a peak in India, at 74%, compared with 70% in Japan – up on the figure of 47% posted in 2008 – and 57% in China.

Nine in ten Chinese adults also reported they are now placing a heavier emphasis on their personal health and wellbeing, as are 78% of Indians, and 54% of the Japanese cohort polled by Edelman.

A further 89% of Japanese consumers said they would like to drive a hybrid car, like the Toyota Prius, compared with 11% saying the same for a luxury vehicle.

Similarly, 62% of Chinese wanted to live in a house that had strong environmental credentials, compared with 38% where the size of their dwelling was the top priority.

Mitch Markson, Edelman's chief creative officer, said "Asians are becoming increasingly vocal about the power they hold as discerning consumers – and we are seeing how their perception of brands are directly impacting their purchase decisions."

"People are demanding social purpose, and brands are recognising it as an area where they can differentiate themselves by not only meeting governmental compliance requirements, but also by building brand equity."

Data sourced from Media; additional content by Warc staff