LONDON: Brand owners must respond to the growing number of consumers around the world who are "enraged" with the strategies and influence of major corporations, a study has argued.

As part of its on-going Global MONITOR research, The Futures Company, the global strategic insight and innovation consultancy, polled 28,000 adults in 21 markets. It found that 86% of the sample thought big business maximised profits at the expense of customers and communities.

Similarly, 85% of interviewees agreed that large corporations exerted a greater level of influence on government than citizens did.

In keeping with this trend, a further 86% of consumers thought a different set of "rules" applied to the rich, and the same amount believed wealth was too concentrated.

More specifically, around 50% of contributors felt "a lot" of anger about each of these issues, a group the study described as the "global enraged". A majority of people fitting this profile earned middle-to-high incomes, and had completed higher education.

While only a third of the "global enraged" had previously participated in a public protest to show their dissatisfaction with the business world, significant shifts in buying behaviour were much more common.

"As consumers, they are taking other forms of action against companies," Michelle Singer, the head of Global MONITOR, warned. "They will continue to look for outlets to express their anger and effect change, so represent a powerful and potentially dangerous vanguard."

In evidence of this, 47% of these shoppers now bought locally-made goods when possible. Another 36% avoided purchasing products from firms with low ethical standards, as did 29% from global corporations.

"Anger has pushed consumers past the tipping point," Singer added. "They're demanding that corporations get off the bench and get in the game of solving societal and economic problems.

"They want to see leadership and innovation that leads to breakthrough solutions. Companies that take on the challenge and demonstrate tangible progress will be rewarded. Those that fail to act will face backlash from the 'global enraged' and their new joiners."

Detailed insights drawn from this research will be discussed at a briefing in London on Tuesday, 16 October. A webinar will then be made available on Thursday, 18 October. For more information concerning this event, click here.

Data sourced from The Futures Company; additional content by Warc staff