Your views from our Readers' Survey
Nick McAteer presents the results of our latest readers’ survey.
Towards the end of 2014 we carried out a survey of Ethical Consumer subscribers to see how opinions have changed since our previous survey in 2008.
We also wanted to see how recent changes we have made to the magazine have been received, and make sure that any future changes are in line with the current needs and wishes of our readers.
We would like to thank all of you who took the time to share your views.
The most popular types of content amongst our readers are the product ratings and best buy tables, and in-depth feature articles, especially those dealing with climate change.
You were also supportive of our decision to produce more in-depth magazines on specific themes, so we will be doing more of these in future, including in this issue.
All the areas of corporate impact we monitor (such as workers’ rights or climate change) were rated as important by a clear majority of our readers.
The criteria most likely to influence your buying decisions are:
- respect for human rights and workers’ rights,
- pollution and toxic materials,
- climate change and
- overall product sustainability.
Although they remain very important to our readers, criteria such as the use of nuclear power, involvement in political activity, genetic engineering, animal rights and animal testing appear to have marginally less influence on your buying decisions.
We are currently working through the many suggestions you made on additional areas of corporate impact, as well as the themes and topics (from arts funding to zero hours contracts!) that might benefit from greater coverage in the magazine.
A different perspective
Our readers clearly like the magazine for a wide variety of reasons, with many appreciating the fact that we occupy a unique space, with a different perspective from many in the mainstream media.
You were also complimentary about the passion and commitment of our writers and the quality and comprehensiveness of our research and reporting, which helps people to make informed decisions.
The magazine covers complex issues in as comprehensive a way as possible, and while many struggle to find the time to read every issue cover to cover, most (87%) felt that the level of detail was just about right.
However some worry that occasionally there is no clear solution or guidance on the most ethical option, or that recommendations we made were impractical, expensive or difficult to source.
Several of you commented that there was scope to improve the way we present information, including the use of cartoons, photographs and graphics.
We will be looking into a number of ways to improve these things in future issues.
Still in print
The fact that Ethical Consumer is still available as a printed magazine is also popular with our subscribers, with the majority of you reading the magazine at home.
Those who read at work represent many different types of organisation, including educational and religious institutions as well as third-sector organisations and businesses across a variety of fields (for example environment, food and drink, healthcare, leisure, media, fashion and technology).
Although the magazine continues to be primarily used as a buying guide and a source of general information and ideas, we are really pleased that many of you (19%) use information we produce to support campaigns, and share the magazine or its contents with family members, friends and colleagues.
Finally, it is worth noting that our subscribers tend to be extremely loyal, over half of you (56%) have held your subscription for five years or more.
We remain grateful for your ongoing interest and support and hope to be able to cover some of the issues you raised in the near future.
Nick McAteer is an independent researcher who works with EC in developing and analysing customer surveys - you can find him here on Twitter