Weighing in on political issues has always been a fraught prospect, but a new report from Savings.com suggests it is becoming even more so.
In a recent survey of 1,008 U.S. consumers conducted by the coupon aggregator, 50 percent of respondents said a company’s stance on political and social issues is more likely to influence their decision to purchase from that business than it was a year ago.
Overall, a significantly higher percentage of Democrats, 61 percent, than Republicans, 40 percent, agreed with the statement, “A company’s stance on social and political issues is more likely to influence my decision whether to shop with them now than it was a year ago.” Thirty-two percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Democrats disagreed.
Should a brand feel confident it and its customers agree on political issues, it could potentially benefit from publicly expressing those opinions. Savings.com found that 47 percent of Americans are more likely to spend money on brands whose politics align with their own. Democrats were more likely to feel this way, with 56 percent saying so, compared to 46 percent of Republicans.
A slightly smaller percentage, 41 percent, said they are likely to stop shopping with a company if they support a political party or position they don’t agree with. Again, Democrats (49 percent) were more likely to feel this way than Republicans (39 percent).
More than one-third of respondents, 34 percent, said that when a company takes a political stance, it makes them less likely to shop with them, regardless of whether they agree or not. Republicans (43 percent) were more likely to feel this way than Democrats (33 percent).
One-quarter of shoppers said they stopped buying from a brand because of who it supported in last year’s presidential election. Thirty-one percent of Democrats said they had boycotted a company based on who it supported, compared to 24 percent of Republicans.
Political affiliation, however, was nowhere near the top reason consumers said they stopped shopping with a company over the past year. Instead, poor customer service led the way with the support of 38 percent of respondents, closely followed by lenient coronavirus health policies and mistreatment of employees, both with 37 percent. “Comments on controversial issues I disagree with,” cited by 23 percent of respondents, took a distant fourth place.
Other reasons consumers said they stopped shopping with a company this past year included strict coronavirus health policies (21 percent), “religious or political affiliation I disagree with” (20 percent), unsustainable business practices (14 percent), refusal to comment on controversial issues (12 percent) and “charity/philanthropic efforts I disagree with” (12 percent). Nineteen percent of respondents said none of the above.
Savings.com noted a distinct partisan divide when it came to coronavirus health policies, with Republicans more likely than Democrats to boycott a store if its rules were too strict (31 percent to 21 percent). Conversely, 46 percent of Democrats said they boycotted a store for lenient policies, compared to 28 percent of Republicans.