New York, NY, 23.06.2020

73% of African Americans have seen brands act as “a force for good” during protests -- GfK

Racial equality protests sweeping the country are inspiring brands to take a fresh look at their commitments to diversity – and new research from GfK shows that consumers are paying close attention to these moves.

Just-released insights from GfK’s Consumer Pulse show that 58% of all US consumers – and 73%* of African American consumers – say they have seen companies acting as “a force for good” during the protests. Proportions of all US consumers are also high among those living in Large Urban Metropolises (74%) and consumers who have children under 18 (69%).

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By contrast, about half of all US consumers and African Americans say they have noticed brands serving as a “negative force” during the social unrest. Again, those in large metropolitan areas (65%) and those with children (56%) scored above average.

How brands behave today may be crucial to their future relationships with consumers. GfK found that 74% of all in the US say that companies’ actions during the protests will influence their desire to do business with those brands going forward.

Almost half (45%) of African Americans agreed strongly with this sentiment, and another 36% agreed somewhat, for a total proportion of 81%.

In the new research, two-thirds of all US consumers also reported that they have seen some companies taking a stance on racial issues for the first time. In this case, consumers of all groups were both right at the average – but African Americans were more likely to agree strongly with the statement (42% versus 26%).

Many Americans also want to see their own companies taking action: of all those employed, 55% of the total population and 64% of African Americans say they want to see their company take a stance on racial issues, with 38% of African Americans strongly agreeing.

* Unless otherwise noted, percentages represent “top two box” results – those who agree “strongly” or “somewhat” with the statement

“Our new research shows that US consumers – and African Americans in particular – are watching brands closely during this crucial moment,” said Stacy Bereck, Managing Director of Consumer Insights for GfK. “Hanging back is no longer an option; but saying and doing the right things are also essential. With sentiments changing almost daily, brands need to monitor the consumer landscape closely and react with skill and judgment.”

GfK’s Consumer Pulse research covers 30 countries, allowing brands and marketers to #MasterTheCrisis by understanding consumer attitudes, behavior, purchase intent, media consumption, and more – both now and in the future. The research reveals changes in demand for goods and services, as well as which sectors and channels present risks or opportunities, so that companies can respond with confidence and come out of the crisis stronger, better positioned, and closer to consumers than before.

As part of this research, GfK interviewed a representative sample of 1,004 US consumers (ages 16 to 65) during June 16, 17, and 18, 2020.     

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