Retailers: Study says Christian consumers’ faith matters in the marketplace

AUTHOR:

Chris Stone


Study finds that 97 percent of the American population is open to doing business with retailers whose operation is compatible with Christian principles

Many retailers have failed to effectively engage Christians.  Perhaps it’s uncertainty about how to engage them or concerns over consumer reaction to doing so.

Barna Group study shows that 42 percent of consumers actually favor doing business with companies who operate according to Christian principles.  Only a very small 3 percent of American Consumers are opposed.

Findings showed a definite favorability toward businesses operating according to Christian principles.

barna group

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, observed:

“There appears to be a significant opportunity for enterprises that understand and value faith to express their faith consciousness through their business practices -- not simply as a marketing gimmick but as an authentic part of their content, their mix of products and services, their branding, and their corporate culture."

Despite the significant value Christian consumers represent, most retailers have failed, as measured by their actions, to capitalize on the value.

"Many contend that faith should be isolated from consumer decisions, and that the marketplace is deeply resistant to products and services delivered by companies who are overtly Christian. In fact, some executives and marketers are so focused on being inoffensive to anyone that many businesses have catered to critics by avoiding or stripping away any hint of faith-friendly practices or mission. However, the research shows that the consumer audience is divided between those who favor Christian companies and those who are simply indifferent. Very few Americans appear to be opposed to such faith-related businesses.”

In fact, failing to acknowledge the values of Christian consumers presents a greater risk to retailers than offending those who oppose them.

Many retailers have found success by reaching out to ever more focused consumer groups.  They have used their innate compatibility with certain groups as an opportunity to gain market share through this form of sustainable differentiation.

One such group is the rapidly emerging and powerful minority market segment of Christian consumers known as Faith Driven Consumers.  Their traits, preferences and needs are clearly distinguishable from the larger Christian population and from other groups as well.

At 41 million, it represents 17 percent of U.S. adults, a number on par with the Hispanic consumer segment, but whose spending power is significantly larger.

Is your brand compatible with them?  As a retailer, what will you do to capture this market? Will you be the retailer who gains first mover advantage with this rapidly emerging segment?

They are ready to commit to and remain loyal to your brand.



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