Since Sustainability is a topic on all retailers’ minds, I thought it would be helpful to put the whole subject into perspective with some eye-opening data from a recent report First Insight produced in partnership with the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. First Insight published a similarly themed report in early 2020, and the changes in consumer thinking that have transpired in just a few years are nothing short of remarkable. The brands and retailers who begin to integrate these generational preferences now will be the ones best prepared for the future.
Since 2019, as more Gen Zers have matured into young adults, their collective voice has become a greater force within the world at large. This demographic cohort comprises young people born after 1997, meaning that the oldest members of this generation turn 25 this year. Also known as the “Tik Tok” generation, they are profoundly committed to making choices that align with their values. Often these choices put the health of the planet first, and include cutting down on consumption, reducing one’s carbon footprint, supporting small batch producers and local businesses, participating in the circular economy, and purchasing previously owned--not new--items. No generation before them has shown the same widespread commitment to any societal issue since the Boomers were protesting the Vietnam war in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Retailers and brands need to pay close attention, because by 2031, Bank of America predicts that Gen Z’s income will surpass that of their next older generation, Millennials, and they will become “the most disruptive generation ever.”