Merchant Social Responsibility an Important Consideration in Making Purchase

Shopping with a conscience is taking off in the Asia/Pacific, with over six in ten respondents buying items that are either based on fair trade principles or are environmentally friendly. An overwhelming response with more than 80% of Thai, Malaysian and Chinese respondents bought items that are based on fair trade principles. The latest survey from MasterCard Worldwide also shows how 60% of the respondents in Asia/Pacific purchased certain items because a percentage of the sale is donated to a good cause. The survey was conducted via online interviews in the fourth quarter of 2009 and involved 3,500 consumers from 13 markets1 across Asia/Pacific and Africa. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

More than 70% of the respondents in Asia/Pacific also indicated that they will go out of their way to purchase gifts that are environmentally friendly as well as pay more for such items. This is less so for products based on fair trade or with a percentage being donated to a good cause. A total of five markets scored above Asia/Pacific average for willing to pay more for environmentally friendly items with China leading the curve at 94%, followed by Thailand (87%), India (83%), the Philippines (82%) and Hong Kong (77%).

In Asia/Pacific, both female and male respondents embrace the same ethos and principles when making purchases across the key indicators surveyed. Environmentally and socially responsible merchants are a big draw for shoppers with over 80% of the respondents in Asia/Pacific more or somewhat likely to make a purchase. Shoppers in Thailand (96%), the Philippines (94%), China (91%) and India (89%) scored above the Asia/Pacific average.

Amongst those surveyed, retail outlet was found to be the preferred point of purchase with over 60% of the respondents in Asia/Pacific, compared to online channel when it comes to responsible gift purchases. However, for respondents who stated that they make their purchases online, about 75% agreed that there are more choices online for environmentally friendly items or products based on fair trade principles. About half of the respondents stated that they will be able to get the same products at discounts on socially responsible products that may otherwise be expensive in retail outlets.

There is a shift towards ethical shopping for a new class of knowledgeable and discerning shoppers in the region. The latest MasterCard survey demonstrates that consumers are looking beyond discounts and are drawn towards ethical practices – fair trade principles or eco-friendly products. Consumers are now aware that even when they make their purchases, they can make a difference, said Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.

MasterCard® Purchase with Purpose, MasterCards social responsibility and citizenship efforts across the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, seeks to complement this trend of shopping with a conscience. Purchase with Purpose enables consumers to play a part in giving back to the community when they use their MasterCard cards, helping them contribute to a good cause even as they go through their everyday activities. This is at the heart of a drive by MasterCard to encourage responsible spending and to make a difference in someone else’s life.

1Markets surveyed include Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and Thailand.

Media Contacts
MasterCard Worldwide
Georgette Tan, (65) 6390-5971