Jul 17, 2022 - Economy

Baby boomers most likely to boycott activist companies

Illustration of hands holding picket signs made from shopping bags.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Older consumers are more likely to attack the brands they disagree with, while younger generations are more focused on uplifting brands that align with their values, a new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) customer loyalty survey found.

Why it matters: Executives and brands feel mounting pressure to weigh in on geopolitics and societal issues, but many cite consumer backlash as a reason to stay quiet.

Yes, but: This backlash might not be as widespread as it seems. On average, only 1 in 5 people will boycott a brand due to its stance on societal issues, according to the study.

By the numbers: 1 in 4 baby boomers said they would actively boycott a brand they disagree with, while only 1 in 13 would support a brand that shares their beliefs.

  • Meanwhile, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z are less likely to boycott but more likely to intentionally support like-minded brands.

What they’re saying: “It is incredibly challenging to perfectly align corporate and customer values,” PwC customer transformation and loyalty partner Jon Glick told Axios.

  • He also suggests considering employee needs. “Many companies who take stances do so to increase loyalty amongst their own ranks, and in this tight labor market, that is incredibly important.”

The bottom line: When it comes to corporate activism, there is a clear generational divide — with older generations wanting less and younger generations wanting more.

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