Paul Holmes 01 Jan 2005 // 12:00AM GMT
More than a third of consumers worldwide boycott at least one brand according to GMIPoll, an online opinion poll that surveyed 15,500 consumers in 17 countries.
Among the most enthusiastic boycotters are the Chinese, with more than half of the respondents saying they refused to buy products from certain manufacturers. Denmark (49 percent) and France (46 percent) came a close second and third. Mexican and Japanese consumers, on the other hand, seemed to be most tolerant with only 15 percent of Mexican respondents and one fifth of Japanese respondents avoiding particular brands.
Overall, 36 percent of all consumers worldwide—including a higher percentage of men than women—said they were boycotting products.
The most boycotted brands, according to the survey, were Nike, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Nestle. The Germans had the highest number of brands on their black lists including local ones such as Adidas, Opel and Mercedes, while Chinese consumers said they avoided mainly local brands and Sony.
“These findings will be very concerning to these adept marketing companies, as it demonstrates the risk to the value of their brands. Clearly they are not connecting with their local marketplaces as well as they could,” says Allyson Stewart-Allen, Director of marketing consulting firm International Marketing Partners that is developing a brand barometer together with GMI to allow companies to monitor how they are perceived around the world.
The most frequently cited reasons for boycotting were unfair labor practices and unhealthy products. Bad publicity and country origination played a less important role. However, 18 percent of those asked also said they wouldn’t buy products produced by countries that don’t respect the Kyoto agreement aimed at slowing down global warming, while 28 percent weren’t aware of the agreement at all.