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Consumers now expect businesses to address inequalities exposed by the pandemic

The pandemic has made consumers much more likely to buy from businesses with a social conscience, new research commissioned by EVERFI has found.

Some 2,096 adults from across the UK were asked about the impact the pandemic has had on their attitudes towards brands and businesses.

The findings reveal that the vast majority of UK consumers now expect businesses to be actively involved in addressing the inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.

Three in four of all those asked said it was important, or very important, to them to know that a business or brand was taking action to help rebuild a fairer society.

The research shows the important role businesses of all sizes have to play in our post-pandemic recovery.

According to the findings, while almost all consumers now favour businesses with a social conscience, women and ‘Generation Z’ – typically those aged between 18 and 24 – are even more likely to do so.

While 71% of men said they felt it was important, or very important, to know that a business was addressing the inequalities exposed by the pandemic, the figure climbed to 79% for women and 81% for Generation Z.

Consumers in some parts of the country feel stronger than those in others, the findings show.
While 60% of Londoners think it’s important or very important for a business or brand to be actively involved in tackling inequality, 47% of consumers in the South West of England feel the same.

The research reveals a sense of urgency among consumers for businesses and brands to “build back better”. Some 84% of those polled said that businesses and brands need to “act now to rebuild a fairer society”.

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Consumers want businesses to support education above all

The researchers asked consumers which of five areas they thought businesses should support to rebuild our society post-pandemic: education, mental health, sustainability, arts and culture or health and sport.

Education was the most popular choice by some margin.

More than eight in 10 consumers – 83% – chose education, while 76% picked mental health and 61% opted for sustainability.

Women are particularly likely to say that businesses should support education as we ease out of lockdown.

The vast majority of all consumers – 87% – believe it should be a priority for businesses and brands to support young people to develop wider skills for what will be a tough jobs market in coming years.

Nick Fuller, EVERFI’s President (International), says the findings show the role businesses play in addressing inequality is more important than ever.

“In recent years, brands and businesses have loudly voiced their commitment to do more than deliver profits – they have increasingly acknowledged the responsibility to deliver a social purpose to the communities they serve,” he says.

“These findings show that consumers attribute growing importance to this responsibility. Regardless of whether a business is small or large, it has a crucial role to play in helping to tackle the inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.”

At EVERFI, we give businesses and brands an opportunity to help create a more equal society.

We provide young people with online courses in life skills that prepare them for a brighter, safer and more resilient future. Businesses sponsor our courses so that they can be provided free to all UK schools.

After all, subjects like financial education, mental wellbeing or online safety should never just be the preserve of the advantaged.

Get in touch here to find out how your business or brand can benefit.

*Market research company Yonder surveyed a representative sample of 2,096 UK adults on 17 and 18 February 2021

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