Protest is in the air in America, and brands behaving badly are hot targets—according to new research from credit health management firm CompareCards, a substantial percentage of consumers who feel that a company is acting wrongly are willing to express their disapproval by withholding their dollars.
In fact, nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) Americans—and more than half of Gen Z and millennials—are currently boycotting at least one company. The number of boycotting consumers is up from 26 percent in January 2019.
The current coronavirus pandemic, coupled with recent protests against social injustice, has caused many consumers to scrutinize the way a company operates and change their spending habits accordingly, from shunning businesses who don’t treat their employees fairly to prioritizing the purchasing of Black-owned brands.
Among the key findings of the research:
About 38 percent of consumers are currently boycotting at least one company
This is up from January 2019 when 26 percent of consumers were boycotting one or more companies. The No. 1 reason for the boycotts: disagreements about politics.
Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of boycotting consumers said the company they’re refusing to patronize has been accused of racism
A similar number of consumers said the diversity of a company’s executive suite factors into their decision to spend money with that company.
The Black Lives Matter movement and mask requirement create nearly an even split among many boycotting consumers
Nineteen percentof boycotting consumers are refusing to spend money with a company due to its support for the Black Lives Matter organization, while 18 percent are boycotting companies that do not support the movement. At the same time, 16 percent are withholding dollars from businesses that don’t require shoppers to wear masks, but 15 percent are boycotting places that do require patrons to don face coverings.
Likelihood to boycott decreases with age
About half of Gen Z (51 percent) and millennials (52 percent) are currently boycotting at least one company, but that number drops slightly for Gen X (37 percent) and greatly for baby boomers (22 percent) and the silent generation (16 percent).
More than half (53 percent) of Americans said they’re more likely to buy from a company that gives to charities or is associated with causes they believe in
And, 41 percent said they would cut ties with their favorite retailer if it publicly supported something or someone they strongly disagreed with.
“America is as polarized and politicized as it has ever been, and Americans often want to make a statement with what they watch, where they go and who they listen to. Millions of Americans are simply no longer willing to support a business that doesn’t align with their values,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for CompareCards, in a news release. “We’re a divided country in so many ways and people seem to be becoming more emboldened in their beliefs and more willing to use their wallets to express them,” said Schulz.
CompareCards commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,026 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded July 10-13, 2020.