SINGAPORE – Shoppers in emerging markets in the Asia Pacific are more likely to consider the ethics of a product or seller before buying than their developed market counterparts, a new survey found.

All seven emerging markets in a poll of 14 countries from MasterCard consider products that are fair trade, environmentally friendly or donate to charity to be worthy of their hard-earned cash.

Consumers from Indonesia (78.7%), China (73.8%) and Malaysia (73.8%) value socially responsible products the most, followed by Thailand (73.6%), India (72.9%), the Philippines (71.5%) and Vietnam (69.1%).

Products based on fair trade principles are found to be the most appealing in the region, bought by 64% on average. Around 58.8% bought products which are environmentally friendly while 47% purchased products that donate a portion of their sales to a good cause.

The least likely to have ethical dilemmas are shoppers from Australia (29.2%), New Zealand (33.5%) and Hong Kong (37.8%). In comparison, more than half (56.6%) of shoppers in Asia Pacific prefer socially responsible products.

When choosing where to buy from, shoppers in the region prefer environmentally responsible merchants (46.5%) while other criteria like being socially responsible (46.3%) or partnering with charities (42.5%) not that far behind.

Chinese shoppers (68.3%) are most likely to buy products from a merchant that they consider ethical, followed by Thais (68.0%) and Malaysians(64.3%).

Consumers in Japan (20.9%) are least likely to consider whether a merchant acts ‘ethically’ when shopping, followed by consumers in Korea (28.8%) and Hong Kong (29.9%).

“People in emerging markets are increasingly concerned about the impact of rapid growth on the environment and society. It is not surprising that they are more likely to think of the supply chain and ethics of a merchant when deciding what to buy and where to shop,” said Georgette Tan, Group Head, Communications, Asia/Pacific for MasterCard.