James Halliwell
Mar 24, 2022

Consumers demand action not 'empty statements' by brands in response to Ukraine

A new survey says 84 per cent of consumers expect brands to take action during crises and international events – and they will be ‘very vocal’ if brands don’t meet their expectations.

Consumers demand action not 'empty statements' by brands in response to Ukraine

Consumers will stop buying from brands if they don’t respond in line with their ethical expectations or make ‘empty statements’ over the war in Ukraine, according to a new global survey carried out by GWI.

The least-desired action from brands would be to make public statements or show support on social media, with just a quarter of consumers (27 per cent and 25 per cent respectively) feeling brands should do this in response.

GWI noted this was “very different to what we saw in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, when consumers wanted brands to post on social media much more. The bottom line is that times have changed and this is a very different crisis.”

Only about one-third wanted brands to withdraw products or end their investments altogether. Russian State Duma Deputy Yevgeny Fedorov has reportedly proposed a 10-year ban on foreign companies that do not return to the country’s market by 1 May.

GWI said the survey had been “particularly gathered” in response to the war in Ukraine, and found more than a quarter (26 per cent) of consumers had stopped buying from a brand that is not supporting Ukraine’s cause.

It found most consumers want brands to respond, saying 84 per cent of consumers think brands should take action, although 32 per cent think it largely depends on the circumstances involved. Almost one-quarter (24 per cent) said brands should always take action and make their views known.

This expectation was more prevalent among younger consumers, with 60 per cent of 16-24s saying brands should take action, compared to 51 per cent of 55-64s.

Respondents mostly wanted brands to donate goods (43 per cent) or to offer their services to those in need (40 per cent). Monetary donations are slightly less preferred, with 35 per cent of consumers opting for this response.

GWI spoke to 20,428 internet users aged 16-64, in 21 global markets.


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