December 24, 2008

Retailers urged to keep up charity moves

A majority of U.S. consumers say retailers should continue to support social or environmental causes even during an economic recession, a survey indicates.

More than 75 percent of 1,100 consumers polled in August by Opinion Research for cause-marketing company Cone said brand product manufacturers and retailers should give as much as ever to social causes -- or even more, USA Today reported Wednesday.

There's an expectation that companies better pay up, Marian Salzman, a trends expert and chief marketing officer at Porter Novelli Worldwide, told the newspaper, saying consumers want the retailers and brands to be accountable to the community but feel broke themselves.

Businesses have been listening because even though sales floors have been hurting, retailers have been pulling out all the stops to be charitable. The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual report on corporate giving showed Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Costco all plan to increase giving this year, while many other retailers said their giving would remain the same.

One reason is retail charitable giving and cause marketing are increasingly resonating with consumers, USA Today said.