Recent CivicScience polling data indicate that a brand’s values, such as fair and transparent practices, sustainability concerns, or stance on social issues, to some extent continue to factor into consumer choices for the majority of American adults today. 

However, sentiments vary significantly. For example, 30% of consumers today say a company’s social consciousness is ‘very’ important, while 26% say it’s ‘not at all’ important. And 11% believe brands should ‘always’ take a stand on important social issues, while 30% firmly say they ‘never’ should. 

Truly understanding the importance of brand values to Americans requires taking a deeper look at the diverse opinions and beliefs behind the data. Where do Black Americans, who comprise close to 14% of the U.S. population, stand on these important topics? Here are three major insights about consumer brand values through the lens of CivicScience respondents who identify as Black Americans. 

Company Social Consciousness and Kindness

Data indicate Black Americans consistently place a greater importance on a company’s social consciousness. Over one-third of U.S. Black adult respondents say that a company’s social consciousness and overall kindness play ‘very important’ roles in choosing where to shop and what to buy, which is six percentage points higher than the general population’s average.

Americans are somewhat less likely to place as much importance on a company’s social consciousness and overall kindness today compared to years past. Ups and downs seen in CivicScience data tracking inflation concern, economic outlook, personal finances, price sensitivity, and expected spending help to explain why.

Among the Gen Pop, ‘very important’ fell four percentage points, while ‘not at all important’ climbed two percentage points since 2019. For Black Americans, changes were much less pronounced – ‘very important’ fell slightly (by one percentage point), while there was no observable change in ‘not at all important.’ 

Brand Values and Stance on Social Issues

When it comes to brand values, 78% of U.S. Black adults holding an opinion on the matter say that they would switch to brands that share their values, which is just a hair above the percentage of the general population. 

Nearly three-quarters of Black Americans holding an opinion (75%) agree that they would boycott brands that support causes they’re against, also the same as the national average (75%).

Compared to the Gen Pop, however, U.S. Black adults are significantly less likely to think that brands should stay away from social issues – 64% with an opinion agree brands should refrain from publicly taking a stand on issues, compared to 77% of the Gen Pop. Another noteworthy distinction, the data show Black Americans are more likely to research where a brand stands on a particular social issue (54% to 44%).

Support for Minority-Owned Businesses

Some retailers, including Nordstrom and Etsy, are forward in providing online shoppers with information about which of their products are made by minority-owned brands, such as Black-owned brands

Data suggest that awareness of minority-owned brands is important for more than a third (35%) of the general population, and much more so for Black Americans (52%). Around 2-in-5 U.S. Black adults say they prioritize purchasing products and services from minority-owned businesses at every opportunity, which is more than twice the rate of the general average. Just 28% of Black Americans say they typically do not make it a point to purchase from minority-owned businesses, compared to 45% of the Gen Pop.

Overall, the data suggest that Black American consumers are more likely than the average U.S. consumer to consider a brand’s social consciousness, kindness, and stance on social issues. Black Americans are also significantly more likely to value purchasing from minority-owned businesses. 

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CivicScience Insights

CivicScience conducts large, Census-representative surveys of U.S. teens and adults through polling applications embedded in the content of a vast, demographically, and geographically diverse network of partner websites.

All data points are based on statistically significant correlations and do not represent causation.