Do consumers really care about whether companies are ethical when they decide to patronize them? Or are other attributes (such as brand loyalty, price, convenience, assortment, etc.) so important to consumers that they ignore ethical issues when making a purchase decision?
As reported by Emarketer, Mintel and Lightspeed GMI recently conducted a large study on this topic. Companies should pay attention to and behave appropriately with regard to the findings:
“Consumers might not reward a company they believe is ethical, but many are likely to punish a company they perceive to be unethical, according to a 2015 study. Mintel and Lightspeed GMI surveyed 2,000 U.S. adult Internet users. More than half of respondents said they stop buying products when they believe a company is unethical. Over one-third of Internet users said they would tell others and 26% of respondents would do neither of those things.”
Click the chart to read more about the ethics study.
Shoplifting in retail stores accounts for billions and billions of dollars around the globe. In the United States alone, annual shoplifting losses amount to $13+ billion.
Take a look at this NEW YouTube video from the Wall Street Journal to see what items are shoplifted most frequently in the United States.
To quote from our textbook (Marketing in the 21st Century): “In any marketing situation, ethical behavior based on honest and proper conduct (‘what is right’ and ‘what is wrong’) should be followed. This applies both to situations involving company actions that affect the general public, employees, channel members, stockholders, and/or competitors and to situations involving company dealings with consumers. For each ethically questionable issue, the person considers alternative actions, makes a decision, and acts accordingly. He or she then faces the consequences, which affect future decisions.”
Here is an interesting (and fun) video on the role of ethics when conducting research. Unfortunately, sometimes, research results are fudged because there is pressure to show a certain desired result.