Indianapolis IN — While CSR efforts are a huge focus for many modern brands, 31% of US shoppers admit to buying from retailers despite disagreeing with their ethics. That’s according to new research from retail experts, Emarsys. 

The study of 7,000 consumers across five countries reveals that a quarter (24%) of consumers have brands that they regularly buy from but would not endorse publicly, with a further 16% going so far as to say that they are loyal to retailers they’re ashamed of.

When it comes to younger consumers, the figures are even higher. In fact, those aged 16-24 are the most likely to regularly buy from brands despite disagreeing with their ethics, with a third (31%) admitting to feeling this way. This group is also the most likely to regularly buy from brands but not endorse them publicly (36%).

Surprisingly, the survey found that strong ethical values (23%) is one of the least popular reasons why respondents are loyal to their favorite retailers, compared to 60% who are loyal to brands that have a wide range of products and 49% for those that offer consistent low prices. 

Commenting on these findings, Payal Hindocha, Director Customer Engagement Solutions GTM

at Emarsys said: “Customer loyalty is not a simple concept; it’s not just a case of liking a brand. There are different types of loyalty that consumers experience. For instance, “incentivized loyalty” is loyalty that’s purely due to the points or rewards received for repeat purchases. Take those rewards away, and the loyalty disappears.

“Silent loyalty — the notion that customers can be loyal to brands that they wouldn’t publicly endorse, — is another entirely valid type of loyalty. With so many shoppers admitting to purchasing products from brands that have opposing morals or ethics, this begs the question – is convenience and price more important than brand values? 

“Ultimately, loyalty is the foundation upon which every business achieves what it wants: more customers, buying more often, at higher values and lower cost. Whether it’s offering a varied product range or keeping prices consistently low, organizations need to make decisions that work for their customers as individuals, using all the tools they have available. 

That’s not as simple as a cookie-cutter loyalty program – Rubino Shoes is an example of a business that boasts a loyal customer base without any sort of loyalty program. Instead, organizations need to be using the product, customer and sales data to build customer loyalty to develop tailored strategy and messaging that will work for both the customer and the business.”