BOSTON: An increasing number of holiday shoppers are planning on purchasing a product from companies that donate a percentage of their profits to a cause, with women and African-Americans again ranking among the greatest supporters of this practice.
BOSTON: An increasing number of holiday shoppers are planning on
purchasing a product from companies that donate a percentage of their
profits to a cause, with women and African-Americans again ranking among
the greatest supporters of this practice.
These were among the main findings of the 1999 Cone Holiday Trend
Tracker, a survey measuring the effect that companies’ cause-related
branding programs have on consumer purchasing decisions and
The survey, now in its third year, found that 68% of Americans expect to
purchase a product in which a percentage of the price is donated to a
cause, up 33% from 1997. In addition, 63% of consumers plan to buy from
a retailer closely affiliated with a cause, up 17% from 1997.
Cone CEO Carol Cone attributed the results to three main elements: an
increase in companies initiating cause programs in order to
differentiate themselves from competitors; companies continuing with
cause initiatives based on previous positive experiences; and a changing
consumer persona in which more shoppers expect companies to give back to
Not surprisingly, women - who, according to Cone, make 80% of purchasing
decisions - are more likely than men to consider a company’s giving
record in their purchasing decisions (76% vs. 66%). Women are also more
likely to shop from a retailer associated with a good cause (67% vs.
58%) and purchase a holiday gift associated with a good cause (67% vs.
African-Americans are also more likely to purchase a product in which a
percentage of the price is donated to a cause (82% vs. 68%), shop from a
charity-minded retailer (74% vs. 63%) and buy gifts associated with a
good cause (72% vs. 63%).
’If companies respond in a unique way to segments of consumers - whether
ethnic, geographic or in terms of areas of interest - consumers will pay
them back handsomely,’ said Cone.
Also interesting to note is that Americans are following through with
their intention to support a social issue through cause-related
Of the 60% of respondents who planned to purchase a holiday gift
associated with a cause in 1998, 54% reported that they did.
And while 71% of respondents said they would consider a company’s
reputation for charitable donations when buying holiday gifts (up 27%
from 1997), 88% said that this is something they will consider
throughout the year.
’Being philanthropic is almost expected during the holidays,’ said Cone.
’Companies shouldn’t make it part of their promotions, but part of their
The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation International
via a national telephone sampling of more than 1,000 people between
November 11 and 14.
Cone pointed to several examples of holiday-related cause initiatives:
Macys.com is providing consumers with a 10% discount for donations of at
least dollars 10 to Macy’s Hunger-Free Holiday program; eToys is
discounting toys by 50% when online purchasers use their Visa card for
donation to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots; and JC Penney is
contributing dollars 2 from each cash purchase of the CD A Very Rudolph
Christmas to CAN DO Afterschool, an initiative designed to improve the
quality of after-school programs.