Sustainability and transparency, the two watchwords of the millennials, are now been actively taken up by the Gen Z. New and friendly brands of this generation are creating sustainable, authentic and transparent products and services that address the concerns and aspirations of Gen Z and build trust for the future.
The 2018 “Report on Young People and Social Change’ by DoSomething Strategic, a social impact consultancy names Patagonia as a top purpose-driven brand. The brand, not only encouraged customers to repair their old apparels instead of discarding them but also created a marketplace for reselling pre-worn clothes. The company also created a digital platform to connect its consumers to causes. This has doubled its revenue in the last eight years.
Elisabeth Best, Manager-Sustainability Management, the global nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility’s (BSR), notes millennials and GenZ consumers are creating demand for sustainable products. A survey by Cone Communications, reveals around 94 per cent of the Gen Z shoppers believe companies should address urgent social and environmental issue as against 87 percent of Millennials.
Seeking value for money
A Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey highlighted, around 36 per cent of consumers are likely to pay full price for a clothing item made in a sustainable or environmentally friendly manner. This figure increases to 39 per cent of millennials and 40 per cent of GenZ shoppers.
Gen Z, those born between 1996 and 2010, make up a quarter of the US population. Their purchasing power, as per a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, is around $44 billion. They’re expected to account for 40 percent of all consumers by 2020.
Honesty, authenticity from brands score high
Born as digital natives, GenZ consumers were raised during the era of non-stop social media, where memes are presented as facts and intentionally fabricated news stories have run rampant. UK-based Sustainly, a sustainability consultancy, says the young people of this generation demand honesty and authenticity from brands because they’ve “come of age in this crisis of trust.
Monitor™ Research studies show, despite their young age, GenZ consumers prefer clothes made of natural fibers such as cotton, wool, etc. (38 percent). Another 38 per cent prefer sustainable clothing. The Monitor™ survey reveals that around 75 per cent of Gen Z consumers site cotton as their favorite fabric as it is sustainable and trustworthy.
Interest in social issues
The Gen Z consumers are also interested in social and environmental issues. As the Monitor™ research shows water quality tops the list for 91 percent of Gen Z consumers. This is followed by concerns with global warming and climate change (91 percent), loss of rural farmland (91 percent), extinction of animals and/or plants (91 percent), and the depletion of natural resources such as oil or minerals (82 percent).
A survey by Greenmatch, a renewable energy consulting agency has shown, 72 per cent of Gen Z respondents were willing to spend more money on goods and services produced in a sustainable fashion. Almost half (49 per cent) stopped purchasing or boycotted a brand because they stood for something or behaved in a way that is against their values.
Young people align with brands that reflect their values. As the DoSomething Strategic survey noted more than half of the 13-to-25 year olds surveyed are influenced by a brand’s reputation and values. And nearly 30 percent actively seek out socially or environmentally responsible brands.
The survey advises brands to balance profits and purpose. This can only happen if they remain as committed to doing good as they are to increasing their sales.