A third of millennials joined a boycott last year
- In the past year, 33% of millennials and 35% of Gen Xers boycotted a company or product they had previously spent money on, according to a new report from CompareCards.com. Overall, 26% of Americans are actively boycotting a product today.
- Men and parents with young kids are most likely to be boycotting a product or retailer, according to the report.
- Nearly six in 10 said they're more likely to buy from a retailer or brand that gives to charities or is associated with causes they support. The report compiled survey answers from 1,034 U.S. respondents between Jan. 14 and Jan. 16.
Consumers are increasingly voting with their wallets. Brands walk a fine line between embracing the social issues their best customers care about and alienating a mass merchandise audience. "The calculus that companies must figure out is whether they’ll bring in more people than they’d turn away," the report stated.
Many brands have figured out a recipe for success. REI and Patagonia from the outdoor category have successfully taken bold stances on the environment and politics as their customers cheer them on. Patagonia's mission on its website now reads: "We're in business to save our home planet." And it's backed that up with efforts like giving employees time off to vote, shuttering its stores for Black Friday and using TV ads to fight moves by the Trump administration to eliminate public lands.
Overall, the report's findings highlight that "Americans simply want to be heard," Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards, wrote in a blog post about the report. "I suspect many consumers talk a bigger game about boycotts than they’d ever be willing to play, but it’s certainly notable that they’re willing to say it. They want businesses to know they’re willing to speak with their pocketbook, regardless of whether they ever actually do it. They want those in power to know that there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed. And they want the powerful to know that if they do cross those lines, the people won’t sit idly by."
One of the most notable boycotts in recent memory is the Grab Your Wallet campaign, which lobbied consumers to stop buying from retailers selling Ivanka Trump merchandise. Retailers including Nordstrom, Belk and TJ Maxx pulled back on selling the first daughter's brand, and Grab Your Wallet monitored which were selling or dropping it. Ultimately, in July, Trump's namesake brand announced a wind-down in light of the ethics restrictions that have made it difficult for the company to pursue growth strategies.
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