Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

One in Four Gen Z Consumers Will Stop Buying from Brands That Do Not Take a Stance on an Important Issue

November 10th, 2021
Mollie Turner – Senior Director of Marketing

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American consumers are experiencing a second year of unprecedented change, giving 2020 solid competition for an emerging set of challenges for U.S. businesses. Political polarization, COVID-19, race relations, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change have been top of mind for consumers this year–leading to shifts in consumer expectations of businesses.

“Most Americans want brands to engage in social and political issues,” says David Wellisch, Collage Group CEO and Co-Founder. “The numbers are even more striking when we look by specific issues. For example, 85% of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact. And, then there’s the stick—we see younger Americans, bicultural Hispanics, and Black Americans are much more willing to penalize brands for non-action on issues they see as important.”

These are just a few of the many datapoints on shifts in American consumer behaviors since 2020 available in Collage Group’s America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020 report. Research led by Chief Insights Officer David Evans, Senior Director of Product & Content Bryan Miller, PhD, and Director of Product & Content Jack Mackinnon, unveils changes to diverse consumer attitudes at a key juncture in American history. The results come from a survey fielded in September 2021 of 3,785 Americans, representing Americans across race, ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender.

Fill out the form to view a recording and download a sample from our research presentation, Multicultural America Now.

Multicultural America Now

Key insights illuminated in the research include:

  1. Most Americans (58%) Want Brands to Engage in Social and Political Issues
      • Stopping COVID-19, improving race relations and halting climate change are the top three social and political issues consumers want brands to support.
      • The majority (85%) of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact.
      • The majority (59%) of Americans believe corporations bear the responsibility of fighting climate change – not individuals.
      • The majority (55%) of consumers across all generations acknowledge the urgency of taking action on climate change.
  2. Race and Ethnicity is the #1 Way Multicultural Americans Self-Identify, Regardless of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, or Sexuality­
      • Race and Hispanic ethnicity are the most common self-descriptors for multicultural Americans, ranking higher than personality, age/life stage, country of origin, being American, sexuality, gender and more.
      • Multicultural Americans report an increased interest in buying from brands that support people of their racial and ethnic background—an ~11% increase on average in 2021 comes on top of a 2020 baseline of ~52% of consumers.
  3. Empathetic Gen Z Support Black and LGBTQ+ Americans Much More Than Older Generations (+15%)
      • The majority of Gen Z consumers wants brands to support women (56%) and Black Americans (55%).
      • Inaction is risky for brands with younger consumers, as 26% of Gen Z would stop using or buying a brand if it did not take a stance on an important issue.
  4. COVID-19 Worries Remain for Two-Thirds of Americans, and Their Concern Is Tied Primarily to Economic Factors (64%)
      • Nearly two-thirds of Americans are still concerned about COVID-19, with Asian Americans feeling the most concern at 72%, up 4% since 2020.
      • Most Americans (64%) are concerned they may not have enough money to keep up with monthly expenses; Hispanic Americans are the most concerned with 3 in 4 (74%) citing the concern.
  5. Many Multicultural Americans Have Reprioritized What Matters Most to Them vs. One Year Ago
      • Multicultural Americans say being happy and healthy (41%), saving money (33%) and supporting family and community (27%) are now their top priorities.
      • The majority (54%) of Hispanic Americans say being healthy and happy is much more important to them today than it was one year ago.

“Engaging authentically with an increasingly diverse America can be hard, and missteps are easy,” says David Wellisch. “But our research illustrates that not engaging is not an option, especially during challenging times. This is consumer expectation.”

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Other Recent Gen Z Research Articles & Insights from Collage Group

Mollie Turner

Mollie Turner
Senior Director of Marketing

Mollie Turner is the Senior Director of Marketing at Collage Group where she leads growth, engagement and brand initiatives. She is a seasoned marketing and communications executive, with 20 years of experience spanning B2B, non-profit and agency roles across various industries.

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Friendsgiving 2021: How Should My Brand Celebrate?

Friendsgiving 2021: How Should My Brand Celebrate?

It’s not too late to activate! With over 30% of Americans (and 40% of Gen Z and Millennials) celebrating “Friendsgiving,” brands will want to make their mark on this growing tradition. Keep reading to learn what consumers expect from brands like yours this Friendsgiving.

“Friendsgiving” is a holiday tradition adjacent to Thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity for friends to gather with friends in addition to, or instead of, with family. While Friendsgiving may sound like the latest fad or a “cutesy” holiday, it’s a legitimate way younger generations celebrate—and it’s likely to stick around.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how younger American consumers celebrate the Thanksgiving season, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is ​Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is an informal bonus holiday that started gaining traction in 2013. The origin is unclear, but the term caught on via social media and it’s surged in popularity with younger Americans in recent years. Nowadays, Friendsgiving is a seasonal staple with about four in ten Gen Z and Millennials celebrating.

Holiday Stress Chart

Friendsgiving celebrations often take place sometime before Thanksgiving, as a precursor to the big day. But for many young adults who live far away from home and family, Friendsgiving acts as a substitute to the more formal family feast. It’s also a reflection of shifting family dynamics. Young adults today are delaying marriage and parenthood at greater rates than previous generations. This factors into their emphasis on friends, neighbors, and coworkers as a “chosen” family.

Moreover, almost half of Gen Z and Millennials cite amily as a source of stress around holidays. It’s no wonder, then, that many turn to their friends for comfort and joy.

Friendsgiving Celebrations

Since Friendsgiving is such a new way to celebrate Thanksgiving, it isn’t confined to the well-established traditions of Turkey Day. Rather, it’s open to interpretation—which may be just what individualistic younger generations find appealing about it. Many Friendsgiving celebrants incorporate a mix of classic Thanksgiving elements and personal flair. This means that brands have ample room to play in connecting with younger generations for Friendsgiving.

One way that Gen Z and Millennials are evolving Thanksgiving-season celebrations is by including non-traditional foods. Two-thirds of younger Americans do this, likely driven by the generations’ inherent diversity as well as their desire for novelty. Friendsgiving, free of socially imposed “rules,” offers the perfect opportunity to try out new and exciting flavors, experiment with recipes, or to share one’s culture through food.

Graph illustrating groups that have more than Thanksgiving dishes

Brand Activation

Two brands that have developed an excellent Friendsgiving campaign that appeals to Gen Z and Millennials are Amazon and S.Pellegrino. These brands partnered together in 2020 to create a virtual, shoppable “Guide to Friendsgiving.” The online storefront features videos and recipes by Kristen Kish, an LGBTQ+ Korean-American culinary expert and Top Chef championIn this pandemic-friendly activation, Kish connects with her friends via video chat to recreate their favorite recipes with a twist. From the site, shoppers can download recipes and purchase ingredients to be delivered by Amazon Fresh.

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