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Do Consumers Embrace Ethical Shopping in Asia Pacific?

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More consumers across Asia Pacific are shopping with a conscience, according to the results of the latest MasterCard survey on Ethical Spending.

Social responsibility and sustainability remain high on the agenda for the regions shoppers with 70% of respondents saying that they made fair trade purchasing choices in the last two to three years. This is up from the region-wide figure of 66% last year. Some 55% of those polled also indicated that they were willing to pay more for products based on fair trade principles.

Thailand (95%), Malaysia (85%), and China (86%) continue to have the highest proportion of respondents who based their purchases on fair trade principles, showing an increase over the 2009 survey figures. They were also the top three markets for fair trade purchases in last years survey.

The survey was conducted online from 3 September to 1 October 2010 and involved 8,500 consumers from the following 15 markets across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.

The MasterCard survey also shows that 61% of respondents in Asia Pacific bought items specifically because they were environmentally friendly, holding steady from the 62% in 2009. In fact, 61% of respondents across the region said they were willing to pay more for products that are environmentally friendly. Similarly, 56% of respondents said they were willing to pay more for products with a percentage of the sale being donated to a good cause.

It is very encouraging to see that shopping with a conscience has taken root our latest research shows that Asia/Pacific shoppers are not just focused on good buys, they are just as focused on doing good, said Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.

Understanding consumers evolving sentiments and behavior, MasterCard has been focused on building a strong social responsibility and citizenship program across the region.

To give cardholders a platform to shop ethically and responsibly, MasterCard launched MasterCard Purchase with Purpose in 2009 to encourage this trend of shopping with a conscience. MasterCard Purchase with Purpose initiatives enable cardholders to play a part in giving back to the community whenever they use their MasterCard cards.

To date, MasterCard has launched 20 Purchase with Purpose initiatives across 14 markets in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa benefiting a host of womens empowerment and youth education causes.

With MasterCard Purchase with Purpose, we feel that we are truly living up to our role at the heart of commerce - bringing together our merchant partners, customer banks and cardholders to empower and benefit the less fortunate in our community, added Tan.

While Asia Pacific consumers are looking to shop more ethically, one in two of those polled in another MasterCard consumer survey are planning to make a charitable contribution in the next six months. Respondents in the Philippines (68%), Hong Kong (66%), Malaysia (63% and Indonesia (62%) were the most charitable within the region.

The survey conducted from 13 September to 11 November 20102 and involved 10,502 consumers from the following 24 markets across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa: Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

Among the Asia Pacific markets, the charitable consumers were mostly married (51%) and 55 years and above (57%). Women (50%) are slightly more inclined towards making a charitable donation than their male counterparts (48%).

In comparison, the Middle East markets were much more charitable, with 70% planning to make a donation in the next six months. Similar to Asia Pacific, the charitable consumers were mostly married (72%), 55 years and above (77%) and female (71%).

Of all the consumers looking to make charitable contributions, across the 24 markets surveyed, the majority plan to donate 1-2% of next years annual salary. Kenya stood out with the 50% planning to donate more than 5% of next years annual salary. 

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