Survey: Wealthy Won’t Pay Extra for Social Responsibility

While wealthy consumers favor socially responsible products, most don’t want to spend extra for them, according to a new survey from the New York-based Luxury Institute.

The new survey found that 45 percent of wealthy Americans seek out brands with high ethical standards. However, only 37 percent of these shoppers would be willing to pay a premium for a socially responsible brand. That’s down from 56 percent who said they would pay a premium in 2007.

“Even wealthy consumers have de-emphasized social responsibility as this economy focuses everyone on price/value and away from social issues,” said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza in a statement. “Nevertheless, we see that luxury and premium brands that are socially responsible do better even during recessions because doing well by doing good is a universal and timeless concept.”

As far as companies considered ethical, survey respondents singled out Apple, BMW, Coach, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and Whole Foods.

The study defined wealthy consumers as those making more than $150,000 a year.