As the oldest members of Generation Z move into the workforce, a recent study by First Insight, Inc., a retail technology company, found that they are making more shopping decisions based on sustainable retail practices than even Millennials and Generation X. Further, the study found that Baby Boomers are far less concerned with sustainability when it comes to the items they buy, even less so than their predecessors, the Silent Generation.
According to “The State of Consumer Spending: Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail,” 62% of Generation Z survey participants prefer to buy from sustainable brands, on par with Millennials, while 54% of Generation X and 44% of the Silent Generation said the same. However, only 39% of Baby Boomers agreed, pointing to a vast divide between Baby Boomers and younger generations.
Generation Z is also the most willing to pay more for sustainable products (73%) compared to Millennials (68%), Generation X (55%) and Baby Boomers (42%). Half of the Silent Generation expressed this sentiment. The majority of Generation Z (54%) are willing to spend an incremental 10% or more on sustainable products, versus 50% of Millennials, 34% of Generation X, 23% of Baby Boomers and 36% of the Silent Generation.
Of note, the majority of respondents across generations expect retailers and brands to become more sustainable, according to 73% of Generation Z, 78% of Millennials, 84% of Generation X, 73% of Baby Boomers and 68% of the Silent Generation.
Other findings of the survey include:
Recommerce Growing in Popularity as Majority of Every Generation Shops Secondary Market
Recommerce is gaining traction across every generation with Generation Z (59%), Generation X (63%), Millennials (64%) and the Silent Generation (62%) and even Baby Boomers (52%) say they shop the secondary markets. When considering sustainable models:
- Majority of Younger Generations are Buying Upcycled Products: The majority of younger generations including Generation Z (59%) and Millennials (57%) would purchase upcycled products made of discarded objects or materials to create a product of higher quality or perceived value than the original, whereas fewer Generation X (47%) and Baby Boomers (38%) said the same. Interestingly, the Silent Generation was more inclined to buy upcycled products than Baby Boomers, with 52% saying they would buy upcycled products.
- Resale/Consignment Models More Popular with Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z: The RealReal, ThredUp, Poshmark, and Tradesy were reported as the second-most popular recommerce models with Generation Z (46%), Millennial (48%), and Generation X (46%) reporting they use these services. Baby Boomers (39%) and the Silent Generation (22%) are using them less, but still more than other recommerce models.
- Clothing Swaps and Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces Least Popular Model: While moderately popular with Millennials (24%) and Generation Z (29%), clothing swaps are not as widely adopted as other recommerce models, with less than 20% of Gen X, Baby Boomer and the Silent Generation respondents reporting using them. Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Storr and rentals are least popular overall, with less than 10% of respondents reporting using them.
Giving and Receiving of Sustainable Gifts Ranks Most Important for Generation Z
The vast majority of Generation Z believe both giving and receiving sustainable gifts to be somewhat or very important (64% and 65% respectively), with the majority of Millennials (62% and 55%) feeling the same. By comparison, older generations, including Generation X (51% and 46%), Baby Boomers (40% and 36%) and the Silent Generation (44% for both giving and receiving) reported fewer than half of respondents feeling the same way.
Of note, Generation Z is the most likely to return/exchange a gift that was not sustainable (56%) versus Millennials (44), Generation X (30), and Baby Boomers (19). Thirty-four% of the Silent Generation respondents reported the same.
Good news: The deadline for the 2020 Environment + Energy Leader Awards has been extended to January 20! Get details about submitting your entry here.