More than half of Americans prefer to purchase a holiday gift that gives back a portion of the proceeds to a good cause, according to a poll of US consumers' plans for charitable giving during the 2006 holiday season, conducted by communications agency Cone.
The Cone Holiday Trend Tracker (now in its ninth year) found that consumers are increasingly looking to companies to provide opportunities that help them do good through their holiday shopping. In the run-up to Christmas 2006, nearly six out of ten shoppers said they aimed to support a charity by making gift-giving purchases from retailers that support a philanthropic cause, up nearly 10% from 2005.
In 2006, consumers planning to "purchase a product in which a percentage of the price is donated to a cause" accounted for 57% of the holiday shoppers surveyed (compared to 55% in 2005). Similarly, those planning to "buy from a retailer that supports a cause" accounted for 59% of those surveyed (up from 52% in 2005).
According to Julia Hobbs Kivistik, executive vice president of cause branding for Cone, "More than 60% of shoppers said that they were likely to consider a company's reputation for supporting causes when purchasing gifts during the 2006 holiday season. These findings underscore the importance of business involvement in causes."
Point of differentiation
By offering consumers an easy way of engaging in charitable giving, retailers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves and attract the attention of shoppers.
But the holiday season is not the only time of the year that consumers shop with a cause in mind, the poll revealed. Companies have an equal opportunity to engage consumers and remain relevant to their target audiences all year round by establishing a deep, ongoing cause commitment.
A good example
A good example of this kind of cause commitment is Macy's Thanks for Sharing holiday promotion, through which customers were able to enrol for US$25 to receive 10% rewards on purchases made with their Macy's card until 30th December 2006 - with US$10 of the enrolment fee being split between the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.