Price more important than ethics for consumers

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
11 November 2015

Consumers rank price way ahead of ethics when making purchasing decisions, according to research.

A survey of 1,678 consumers on behalf of law firm Winckworth Sherwood found 76 per cent said price was the most important influence when buying a product. Ethical concerns was only an influence on 7 per cent of shoppers.

Quality was the second most important factor, cited by 62 per cent. In fact, ethics was seen as less important than convenience (14 per cent), brand reputation (13 per cent) and recommendations from friends or family (9 per cent).

The only factor ethics was more important than was transparency about corprate tax affairs, which only gained 2 per cent.

Under the Modern Slavery Act, which came into force last month, companies with a turnover of more than £36 million will have to provide a statement explaining how they are tackling modern slavery in their supply chain.

"It will be interesting to see whether businesses’ new reporting obligations under the Modern Slavery Act will increase consumers’ awareness and materially influence priorities when making choices between goods and services," said Winckworth Sherwood partner Andrew Yule.

Nancy Dickie, senior associate at the law firm added rateilers and clothing firms were at particular risk under the new legislation. "We’ve already seen the adverse publicity can damage reputations, even if consumer purchasing decisions aren’t immediately impacted. While the reporting requirement falls on larger organisations, smaller businesses will nonetheless have to look to their own practices and policies in this area as their customers look for this increased level of transparency over their supply chain.”

“In itself, the requirement to post the statement won’t cost organisations anything. The cost comes from how companies choose to demonstrate how they are attempting to combat slavery and trafficking, if at all. As the first disclosure requirement of its kind in Europe, it will be interesting to see the impact this has at the end of the next financial year, when organisations will have to disclose their statements.”

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