NEW YORK, NY – May 2, 2023 - Today, new data from GWI’s latest release, GWI USA Plus, reveals that while 7 in 10 Americans deem Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) as important and worth taking a stance on, a staggering 37% are still not personally taking practical action to advance such causes. The research also found that interest in social justice/equality is at an all-time low at 7%.

As businesses strive to become more socially conscious, leading audience insights company GWI has launched GWI USA Plus, a rich new data product that provides even deeper insights into American attitudes around social value topics. It offers organizations unparalleled data to gain a better understanding of audience perceptions, and tailor products, services, and messaging with a particular focus on the complex attitudes and behaviors around diversity, equality, and social justice.

"While diversity and equality remain top of mind for many consumers today, our new data demonstrates the complexity of changing consumer attitudes around these key social issues - particularly over ownership and who audiences see as responsible for enacting change. There’s a clear bar that consumers want organizations to reach - in the US, they’ll need to go beyond surface level actions to meet consumer expectations,” said Jason Mander, Chief Research Officer at GWI.

The new insights shed further light on key trends and evolving consumer perceptions:

Brands are Falling Short in Connecting with People of Color

  • Asian Americans are 95% more likely than the average American to say they rarely see people that look like them in advertising and are 32% more likely than the average American to want to see artists/musicians and athletes/sports professionals in ads that focus on diverse representation. 
  • Hispanic Americans are 55% more likely to never see people that look like them represented in ads. 
  • People of color feel largely underrepresented when it comes to brand advertising, with 70% more likely to say that they want to see social media influencers in ads that focus on diverse representation. People want ‘better portrayal of diverse groups’ in advertising - using real people vs actors or models could help to boost authenticity when it comes to creating representative ads.

Generational Differences Impact Consumer DE&I Priorities

  • Gen Z are twice as likely to say trans rights is the most important social issue today than other generations, and the most likely (60%) to say we have a responsibility to protest if we feel that something is unjust in our society.
  • Millennials are most likely to say access to sexual health help/care is most important.
  • Gen X are most likely to say LGBTQIA+ Pride is most important.
  • Baby boomers are most likely to say ageism is most important.
  • Gen Z are more than twice as likely to cite anti-racism as the most important social issue.

Discrimination, Equal Opportunity Remain Top Concerns

  • 32% of US consumers want brands to be authentic.
  • 81% of Americans who think DE&I is important say that it matters to them because it helps to provide fair and equal opportunities.
  • 64% who think DE&I is important say that it matters because they want to be more accepting of people. However, when it comes to ethnic groups and people of color such as Asian Americans, Hispanic, and White/Caucasian Americans, reducing discrimination is the top answer when asked what they think of when they hear DE&I. 
  • For Black/African Americans, the top definition was providing equal opportunities for marginalized communities (50%), followed by reducing discrimination.

“This is clearly an incredibly challenging landscape for brands to navigate,” said Carrie Seifer, Chief Customer Officer at GWI. We're proud to offer the new USA Plus product to help our customers make data, not gut-driven, decisions. Consumers want to see authentic action from brands on their commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion - this new data set provides a fresh lens to help businesses understand what their customers expect.”

GWI USA Plus further bolsters GWI’s research capabilities in the US, following investment to bring customers a best-in-class US consumer product. The new data set, which will be available to new and existing customers with a GWI USA subscription, offers rich insights into consumer sentiment on social issues, on topics such as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), sustainability, mental health and wellbeing, and activism. GWI USA Plus is conducted bi-annually in Q1 and Q3, via online methods, and the research is based on 240 million American internet users 16+ and their responses to a series of mobile-friendly questions.The respondent’s responses were weighted by age, gender, ethnicity and income. 

To learn more about GWI USA Plus’ methodology, click here.