Young consumers have divergent views

29 August 2011

NEW YORK: Young consumers display diverse opinions regarding issues such as business ethics, climate change and the potential role of social media, a study covering 21 countries has found.

One Young World, an organisation co-founded by senior executives from Havas and Euro RSCG, and YouGovStone, the research group, surveyed 9,240 people aged between 20 and 29 years old, all of which were relatively affluent and well-educated.

In all, 69% of contributors agreed "business should have a central role in relieving poverty," although this figure reached a rather more modest 45% among Americans.

Elsewhere, 73% of the entire panel suggested corporations that made a profit "must provide social benefits", 64% wished to work for a firm they "admired", and 60% would only join a company sharing their ethical views.

Respondents from emerging markets proved especially keen for private sector players to demonstrate strong CSR credentials, as totals hit 85% in China, 84% for India and 83% in Indonesia.

Clear divisions were observable regarding the number of people "very concerned" about climate change, as an average of 69% masked a gap between the 42% ratings registered in Germany and the US versus 86% in China.

A further 53% of individuals questioned concurred that multinational companies charged too much for their products, an area where perceptions again varied greatly, as shown by Europe, with France on 61%, Germany yielding 40% and the UK on 37%.

More broadly, 70% of participants argued the public needed protection from unregulated capitalism, with the US, Brazil and France witnessing the lowest scores here, albeit still coming in at 51% apiece.

Similarly, 68% of those polled wanted limits to be put in place so the ownership of major media like TV channels and newspapers does not become concentrated.

Social media is expected to exert a favourable influence in this area, as 71% of the sample thought it would help change the media landscape "beyond recognition" in the next five years.

Interviewees in India were particularly supportive of this notion, posting 84%, ahead of the 73% in China, 69% in the US and 58% in Germany.

Overall, just 45% of young consumers globally felt "very positive" about the future of their country, standing at 29% in the US and 30% in Germany, but rising to 80% in Egypt.

Data sourced from One Young World; additional content by Warc staff