Sustainability Is "In"
Generation Z is the age of people emerging into adulthood. This generation of people are generally born from 1997-2012. Gen Z makes up a massive portion of the market. According to Statista, Gen Z already makes up 20% of the United States population (2019), which is about 67.17 million people. About half of the generation is 18-23 years old. This means that there is a surge of newly employed consumers ready to spend in the markets.
The way that Gen Z spends their money is turning out to be much different than past generations. Gen Zer’s were born into an uncertain and volatile world. A major factor that has influenced the way Gen Z spends their money is the 2008 recession. When they were children, they watched their parents struggle financially during this time, or they are watching them still try to recover. The 2008 financial crisis encouraged Gen Z to save their money and use it wisely.
The figure below illustrates the importance Gen Z finds in saving their money. A whopping 85% of Gen Z prioritize saving their money.
Gen Z Will Spend for Sustainability
The exception Gen Z makes for spending their money is when they are purchasing items that matter to them. There are different characteristics of Generation Z that individualize their consumer behavior.
An article discusses how Gen Z expects brands to “take a stand” on matters that impact the world. Relating to a company’s brand and mission value is important for Gen Z to connect with the brand. They like to shop from companies that they relate to. Gen Z also finds more value in items that are ethically and sustainably developed.
First Insight created a report titled “The State of Consumer Spending: Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail” that illustrates the importance of sustainable shopping to Gen Z. The following are significant facts from the report:
· “The vast majority of Generation Z shoppers prefer to buy sustainable brands, and they are most willing to spend 10 percent or more on sustainable products.”
The graphic below illustrates Gen Z’s willingness to pay more for sustainable products, and the fact that they are willing to pay more for those products.
· “Generation Z and Millennials are the most likely to make purchase decisions based on values and principles (personal, social, and environmental).” The graphic below demonstrates Gen Z’s likeliness to make purchase decisions based on principles.
· “Generation Z is most likely to return a gift that is not sustainable.” In the graph below, you can see that receiving a sustainable product is very important to them. They would even go through the effort of returning/exchanging an item because it was not sustainable.
· “All generations find it important for retailers to become more sustainable.” Even if we do not solely focus on Generation Z, there is a desire from all generations for business owners to prioritize sustainability. Although Gen Z bases much of their purchasing behaviors off the ethics of a product, it is important to recognize that all the generations believe sustainability is important. The graph below exemplifies that ALL generations believe sustainability is something businesses should pursuing.
Take Action as a Business Owner
There is a lot of opportunity as a business to draw in a new market. Bringing in a new market can increase sales and produce new opportunities for growth.
Along with sustainability, accessibility and ease are important to Gen Z shoppers. Providing them all three of these in a product would draw in the Gen Z market with ease.
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