LONDON: More than half of UK teenagers aged 16 and over have deliberately bought or deliberately stopped using a brand because of its ethics, new research indicates, but these remain secondary factors in purchasing decisions behind quality and value.

The findings emerged from MediaCom’s latest Connected Kids report, which was based on a representative sample of 1,201 8-19 year olds across the UK.

Some 54% of those aged over 16 had made purchasing or usage decisions based on a brand’s ethics, while 63% said they were more likely to buy from a brand if it supported a cause or charity important to them.

And even if they’re not actively buying such brands, the majority of the UK’s 16 and over teenagers expect brands to be ethical and morally conscious; 85% said brands should be responsible about minimising their impact on the environment and 71% agreed that brands have a responsibility to give back to society.

At the same time, however, a significant minority (37%) were sceptical of brands that say they support good causes. And a majority believed that brands overstate how much they support these causes (69%) as well as exaggerating how much they do to look after the environment (69%).

Considering specific brands, Lush, The Body Shop and Fairtrade were among those most often bought precisely because of their ethical stance.

At the other end of the scale, teens claimed to have stopped buying at Starbucks, MAC and Primark for ethical reasons.

“Brands that offer quality and are seen to do good are likely to attract a younger audience,” said Josh Krichefski, CEO of MediaCom UK.

But while teens are more likely than adults pay extra for brands that support relevant causes or charities, they still put quality (81%) and value (80%) ahead of ethical factors such as how a product is made (43%), whether it’s tested on animals (42%) or is environmentally friendly (34%).

“Purpose can be a key differentiator when it comes to teens deciding where to buy their products,” Krichefski noted.

“If you’re a brand in 2018 not concerned with purpose and ethics, you run the risk of not just alienating a whole generation but letting down customers who value ‘good’ more than you do.”

Sourced from MediaCom; additional content by WARC staff