Retail Execs Didn’t Get the MemoConsumers and retailers are not on the same page when it comes to sustainable shopping. This is the key takeaway from a recent report produced by First Insight and the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Consumers and senior retail executives were surveyed in tandem to compare perceptions and preferences for sustainable products, shopping formats, and the influences driving sustainable purchase decisions.
The survey found that a significant disconnect between senior retail leaders and consumers exists when it comes to sustainability.
Not surprisingly, the sustainability imperative has been driven primarily by the consumer. A few forward-thinking retailers such as Patagonia and Levi’s have been pioneers in this field and should get the credit they deserve for giving conscious consumerism a bigger platform. Yet it’s the consumer—specifically the Gen Z consumer—that has elevated the sustainability conversation.
The recent study found that the Gen Z consumer has outsized influence on not only their Gen X parents but even their Boomer grandparents when it comes to sustainable shopping.
In the two years since First Insight’s first report on Gen Z and sustainability was published, Gen X consumers’ preference to shop sustainable brands increased by nearly 25% and their willingness to pay more for sustainable products increased by 42%. In fact, consumers across all generations—from Baby Boomers to Gen Z—are now willing to spend more for sustainable products. Just two years ago, only 58% of consumers across all generations were willing to spend more for sustainable options. Today, nearly 90% of Gen X consumers said that they would be willing to spend an extra 10% or more for sustainable products, compared to just over 34% two years ago.