When it comes to sustainable shopping, consumers have preferences regarding what they’d like to buy. And industry experts say opportunity awaits the retailers that truly hear and respond to customer concerns, especially the Millennial and Gen Z generations.
“As consumers, they often put their wallets where their values are, stopping or initiating relationships based on how companies treat the environment, protect personal data, and position themselves on social and political issues,” states the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, “A Call for Accountability and Action.” The firm says it’s not unexpected that those two age groups “are actively seeking to influence policy and business actions on matters that are important to them, including environmental issues, inequality and discrimination. They see each at a tipping point and seem eager to provide the necessary push to hold institutions accountable, in order to bring about change.”
While younger consumers are more concerned about sustainability, they’re not alone. First Insight partnered with the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on a consumer sustainability report. It found that “a profound sustainability knowledge gap exists” between the nation’s top retail executives and consumers. This, writes First Insight’s Gretchen Jezerc, senior vice president of marketing, “presents opportunities for retailers not only to bolster their reputations and enhance consumer loyalty, but also to increase profits.”
The First Insight/Baker Retailing Center report found two-thirds of consumers say they would pay more for sustainable products, while two-thirds of retailers believe consumers would not be willing to do so. It also found nearly three-quarters of consumers value product sustainability over brand name. Ironically, 94 percent of retailers believe the opposite, saying brand name would be more important to consumers.