Canadian consumers want to know how companies are contributing to their communities and how their purchases are making a difference, according to a recent survey.
Most Canadians do respond positively to the idea that businesses should look out for the well-being of people and the environment.
— David Coletto, CEO, Abacus Data Inc
“Most Canadians do respond positively to the idea that businesses should look out for the well-being of people and the environment,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data Inc., who co-authored the survey report “Cause Marketing: Preferences and Perceptions of Corporate Charity in Canada.”
“We also found compelling evidence that suggests Canadians would be willing to change their purchasing behaviour based on whether a company or a brand or store partners with a cause,” Coletto added.
The Internet survey of 1,208 Canadians ranked health, poverty, education, and environmental issues as the top priorities in a list of causes that also included economic development, homelessness, disaster relief, crime, veterans and military families, diversity, and international crisis.
Millenials ‘Very Different From Previous Generations’
Abacus Data also runs CanadianMillennials.ca, a website dedicated to insight into the millennials—the approximately 9 million Canadians born between 1980 and 2000.
• Most Canadians (79 percent) will switch brands to support companies they care about, and 82 percent agree companies should donate to charities and non-profits.
• Canadians are more likely to donate at the checkout if a store matches the donation dollar for dollar (67 percent), if offered a discount on their next purchase (61 percent), and if allowed to choose from a list of charities or causes (51 percent).
• Most Canadians want to know about the impact of their contribution (e.g., 5,000 trees planted) and the amount of their purchase being given to the cause (e.g., $1 for every bottle of water sold).
• While 82 percent say company commitment to social and environment issues is important to where they decide to buy or shop, 65 percent say this is important in deciding where to invest.
• Canadians are willing to travel up to 18 minutes longer on average to buy a product that supports a cause they care about. Millennials are willing to travel 21 minutes longer, while baby boomers are willing to travel the fewest minutes longer (about 15.5 minutes), among all the age groups.
• Health, poverty, and education rank as the top three cause priorities. Health is most often ranked as the top priority (23 percent). Environmental causes are often ranked among the top three (35 percent).
Source: Abacus Data Inc.
Coletto, a millennial himself, will be chairing a panel at the Corporate and Community Social Responsibility (CCSR) Conference at Algonquin College in Ottawa on Nov. 6, an annual forum to showcase excellence in CCSR.
“The panel wants to understand and discuss the new generation of Canadians, who are very different from previous generations not only in the technology they use, but also how they interact with each other, how they make decisions about what to buy, where to work,” said Coletto.
He said there are many misconceptions about younger Canadians and his research aims to understand the reasons and try to overcome these stereotypes, such as that they have a sense of entitlement, tend to be are lazy, and represent “a bit of a dreamier kind of demographic.”
His work also aims to serve as a resource for organizations that want to better understand and engage the millennials to enhance their ability to sell new products and services and to hire younger Canadians.
While the survey set out to report on generational differences surrounding cause marketing, Coletto said gender rather than age group is often the key differentiator.
“Men are less likely to say they care about these issues and that they are willing to do something than women. From a cause marketing point of view, women are really an important target, particularly young women who have become a very important consumer group,” he said.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.