The survey also found that consumers in emerging markets are also more likely to buy from merchants that act ethically. When choosing where to buy from, the most important ethical issue for shoppers is whether the merchant is environmentally responsible. The results are based on interviews that took place between October and December 2014, with 500 people aged 18-64, in each of the 14 markets.
Overall, Indonesians (78.7 per cent), Chinese (73.8 per cent), Malaysians (73.8 per cent) and Thais (73.6 per cent) are most likely to consider whether a product is fair trade, environmentally friendly or donates a portion of proceeds to charity when buying.
The survey found that purchases of socially responsible products are lowest in Australia (29.2 per cent) and New Zealand (33.6 per cent).
More than half (56.6 per cent) of shoppers in Asia/Pacific are likely to purchase a product because it is ethical.
Across the countries polled an average of 64.0 per cent purchased products based on fair trade principles, 58.8 per cent bought products which are environmentally friendly and 47.0 per cent purchased products donating a portion of their sales to a good cause.
According to the survey, Chinese shoppers (68.3 per cent) are most likely to buy products from a merchant that they consider ethical, followed by Thais (68.0 per cent) and Malaysians (64.3 per cent).
Consumers in Japan (20.9 per cent) are least likely to consider whether a merchant acts ‘ethically’ when shopping, followed by consumers in Korea (28.8 per cent) and Hong Kong (29.9 per cent).
The most important ethical issue for shoppers in the region when choosing where to buy from is whether the merchant is environmentally responsible (46.5 per cent).
Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, MasterCard Asia/Pacific said, “People in emerging markets are increasingly concerned about the impact of rapid growth on the environment and society. It is not surprising that they are more likely to think of the supply chain and ethics of a merchant when deciding what to buy and where to shop.”
The findings lend support to MasterCard’s initiatives called Purchase with Purpose, which involve cardholders in the company’s efforts to give back to the community whenever they use their MasterCard cards. A percentage of the cost of an item is channeled to causes supporting women and education – giving the underprivileged a chance at learning a skill, championing further education, raising awareness of health issues, supporting the cause for environmental protection, among others.
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