Are boycotts becoming bigger risks?
Goya and Whole Foods are two brands currently facing boycotts in today’s politically-charged climate. Two new surveys indicate that consumer boycotts are becoming more pervasive.
According to new YouGov survey data, half of Americans have boycotted a business at some point in their life. Roughly two-thirds of respondents agree boycotts are very (21 percent) or somewhat (42 percent) effective.
A survey commissioned by CompareCards found 38 percent of consumers are currently boycotting at least one company, up from 26 percent in January 2019.
The leading driver of the current boycotts are disagreements about politics. Among the boycotters, 19 percent are refusing to spend money with a company due to their support of Black Lives Matter, while 18 percent are boycotting companies that do not support the movement. Sixteen percent are boycotting businesses that don’t require shoppers to wear masks, while 15 percent are boycotting places that do require masks.
In CompareCards’ survey, about half of Gen Z (51 percent) and Millennials (52 percent) are currently boycotting at least one company versus 37 percent of Gen X, 22 percent of Baby Boomers and 16 percent for the Silent Generation. Overall, 41 percent say they would cut ties with their favorite retailer if it publicly supported something or someone they strongly disagreed with.
Goya is facing calls for a boycott from Latinos and other consumers of its products after its CEO Robert Unanue said President Donald Trump was a blessing.
Whole Foods is facing boycott calls after sending workers home for wearing “Black Lives Matter” face masks. Starbucks in June reversed a similar policy after facing boycott calls.
Others encountering boycott threats in recent years include Amazon.com over labor practices, Nike over its affiliation with controversial former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Dick’s Sporting Goods over gun control and L.L. Bean over a donation by the founder’s granddaughter to the Trump campaign.
“We’re a divided country in so many ways and people seem to be becoming more emboldened in their beliefs and more willing to use their wallets to express them,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for CompareCards.
- Half of Americans have boycotted a brand – YouGov
- Nearly 4 in 10 Consumers Are Currently Boycotting a Company – CompareCards/PRNewswire
- How Buying Beans Became a Political Statement – The New York Times
- Whole Foods finds itself uncomfortably at the center of a movement – The Boston Globe
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is driving the apparent rise in boycotts of retailers and brands? Do you see the increase in boycotts as a short-term or long-term issue for retailers and brands?