Vietnamese consumers are the most socially-conscious among Southeast Asians, with 86 percent expressing their willingness to pay extra for products and services from firms which are committed to positive social and environmental impact, a new Nielsen survey found.
The survey also showed that consumers in Southeast Asia are the most willing globally to pay more for sustainable products and services.
Eight in 10 consumers in Southeast Asia prefer to buy socially responsible brands, compared to only 51 percent in Europe and 44 percent in North America, the survey found.
“Consumers are trying to be responsible citizens of the world, and they expect the same from corporations. Committing to sustainability might just pay off for consumer brands,” Connie Cheng, Head of Shopper Insights for Nielsen in Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific, said in a statement.
According to the Nielsen report, sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability grew more than 4 percent globally in the past year, while those without grew less than 1 percent.
“Integrating sustainability into their business models and objectives helps society and at the same time, raises goodwill toward their brands”, said Cheng. “Companies with strong reputations outperform others when it comes to attracting top talent, investors, community partners, and importantly, consumers.”
Health and wellness
One of the top sustainability factors that influence purchasing for 77 percent of Vietnamese consumers is health and wellness, according to the survey.
Moreover, products made with fresh, natural, or organic ingredients carry similar weight with consumers in Vietnam.
“Finding opportunities to bridge health benefits and the ingredients that support the claim is a powerful and impactful way to connect with consumers,” said Cheng.
Equally important among consumers in Vietnam is brand trust.
Cheng said brands that have already built a high level of trust with consumers would do well by evaluating where best to introduce sustainable products into the market to drive growth.
“Bigger global consumer-goods brands that overlook sustainability increase reputational and business risk. It leaves them vulnerable to competitors of all sizes who will seize the opportunity to build trust with the predominantly young, socially-conscious consumers looking for products that align with their values,” she said.
The survey also found that commitment to the environment has the power to sway product purchase for 62 percent of consumers in Vietnam.
The Nielsen survey polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries across the globe between February 23 and March 13, 2015.
Consumers were asked how much influence factors such as the environment, packaging, price, marketing, and organic or health and wellness claims had on their purchase decisions.
While the survey seems to paint a very positive picture about Vietnamese consumers, it remains a question to what extent that picture reflects the reality.