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South East Asian consumers want brands to fight climate change and social issues

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

December 7, 2021 | 5 min read

Consumers in South East Asia want businesses to address climate change concerns, reflect their values, and speak out on social issues.

In Singapore, 91% agree that the world is heading for environmental disaster unless people change their habits quickly, according to Ipsos’ “Global Trends Study 2021” study.

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In Singapore, almost three-quarters (74%) say harm to the environment is more important

Neighboring countries in SEA, including Indonesia (96%) and Thailand (93%) ranked in the top two of the 25 countries surveyed, with the Philippines (89%) expressing a similar sentiment.

“The 2021 Ipsos Global Trends study shows Southeast Asians’ concerns are more pronounced than other parts of the world about the rising threat of climate change, the need to look after themselves physically, and for brands to align with good causes,” said Katharine Zhou, the managing director for Ipsos in Singapore.

“It is also interesting to note that despite high levels of concern in Singapore about how data is collected about them online is being used by the government, they have become resigned to the view that a loss of privacy is inevitable – with Singapore topping the list of countries with this view.”

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She added: “Global values, including those in Southeast Asia, have continued to remain the same, and climate concerns were not interrupted by COVID-19. Despite this, the world is changing fast where climate concern is turning into climate action, online and offline are becoming a blended reality and a view that political leaders should become social leaders.”

What are the study’s findings?

  • Most people across 25 countries believe it is more important that businesses fight climate change than pay the right amount of tax. In Singapore, three-quarters of people agree with this statement.

  • Seven in 10 globally now say they tend to buy brands that reflect their values and that business leaders have a responsibility to speak out on social issues. The number was similar in Singapore, at 72%.

  • SEA countries in the study said that they were heading for environmental disaster, with 96% of Indonesians agreeing with this statement.

  • In Singapore, almost three-quarters (74%) say harm to the environment is more important.

  • More than nine in 10 Singaporeans (94%) say that they need to do more to look after themselves physically, compared to the global average of 89%. And three quarters (74%) will sacrifice convenience if it means getting healthier products.

  • In Singapore, 87% believe that a brand can support a good cause and make money at the same time. In addition, 64% of people are generally willing to spend extra for a brand with an image that appeals to them.

  • Singaporeans are the least concerned of any of the 25 countries surveyed about buying products from their own country, at 53%.

  • Since 2013, the importance of brands being associated with values has grown across several key markets, with 72% of people in Singapore agreeing with this statement.

  • More than eight in 10 of the public in Singapore agree that business leaders have a responsibility to speak out on social and political issues facing their country.

  • 49% in Singapore agree that “I don’t care if a brand is ethically or socially responsible, I just want them to make good products.”

  • Singaporeans also have high levels of trust In online recommendations from a well-known site or app, at 80%.

  • Nine in 10 Indonesians (90%) and more than eight in 10 in Thailand and the Philippines (84% and 82%) agree that science will conquer all diseases.

  • In Singapore, 53% agree that “eventually all medical conditions and diseases will be curable”.

  • 84% of the public across all countries and 83% in Singapore agree that social media companies have too much power.

  • More than three-quarters of Singaporeans (78%) say they are concerned about how the information being collected about them when they go online is being used by their government. Singapore ranked fifth highest with this concern.

  • Singapore tops the list of 25 countries at 91% (compared to 84% global average) with those that agree with the statement that it is inevitable they will all lose some privacy in the future because of the power of new technology.

  • 83% of Singaporeans can’t imagine life without the internet, the third-highest of all countries surveyed.

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