Young and affluent Australian consumers are more likely to boycott brands, finds report

Coverups, faulty products and corruption are the top reasons why Australian consumers will boycott a brand, a YouGov study has suggested.

A third of consumer boycotts were also motivated by a company’s treatment of its staff or workers in its supply chain with the YouGov Brand Boycotters survey also finding six out of 10 consumers who decided to avoid a brand have never gone back.

The survey interviewed 1,014 Australians between 11 and 28 September 2017, with 44% of respondents saying they “only buy products from companies that have ethics and values that I agree with”.

YouGov found the consumers most likely to boycott brands tend to skew young and affluent with the typical boycotter being a full time worker, aged 30-44 who has been married and bought property over the past 12 months.

While the report suggested many boycotting consumers eventually come back, rarely do they use the brand as much as they did before. Six in 10 (59%) say they still do not use the brand, while one in five (22%) went back to the brand but they used it less often. Only 17% used it as much as previously.

Sej Patel, head of YouGov Australia, observed that companies need to be conscious of the effects of bad press: “There have been a number of cases of brands getting in hot water with consumers over the past couple of years over issues such as tax avoidance or not treating staff well enough.

“While it is not as straightforward as saying that every time a brand is seen to misbehave it will lose customers, there is a distinct proportion of consumers who will vote with their wallets.”

To overcome consumer boycotts YouGov recommended companies should be transparent and open with the public and engage with angry consumers directly.

“If you can show that your company is dealing with a problem then they might regain trust,” the report authors wrote.

The report also recommended affected brands use as many channels as possible to engage with the public: “People who stopped using a brand or used a brand less are avid multiscreeners, mostly using social media. If you can get your message out on a variety of platforms, you might be able to counteract some of the negative attention gained.

“People who have stopped using a brand or use a brand less following a scandal have their opinions influenced by their peers. Use this to your advantage and promote a positive image of your brand following a scandal and give people something to talk about.”



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing