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01/20/2020

Survey: Generations differ on importance of sustainability

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture

Who your customers are may factor into sustainability decisions.

According to “The State of Consumer Spending: Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail,” a new survey from digital testing platform First Insight, 62% of Gen Z respondents prefer to buy from sustainable brands, on par with millennials, while 54% of Gen X and 44% of the Silent Generation (born 1928-45) said the same. However, only 39 percent of baby boomers agreed. 

Gen Z is also the most willing to pay more for sustainable products (73%) compared to millennials (68%), Gen X (55%), Silent Generation (50%) and baby boomers (42%). 

Of note, the majority of respondents across generations expect retailers and brands to become more sustainable, including 84% of Gen X, 78% of millennials, 73% of Gen Z, 73% of baby boomers, and 68% of the Silent Generation.

Other interesting findings include:

Recommerce is gaining traction across every generation, with 64% of millennials, 63% of Gen X, 62% of Silent Generation, 59% of Gen Z (59 percent), and 52% of baby boomers saying they shop the secondary markets. 

Resale/consignment retailers The RealReal, ThredUp, Poshmark, and Tradesy are used by 48% of millennial respondents, 46% of both Gen X and Gen Z, 39% of baby boomers, and 22% of Silent Generation.

When asked why respondents shop sustainable brands, quality ranked higher than environmental concerns across every generation. Eighty-five percent of millennials, 83% of baby boomers, 81% of Gen X, 78% of Gen Z, and 70% of the Silent Generation ranked quality as important. While both factors were rated as important, environmental concerns ranked lower, with only 72% of baby boomers, 71% of millennials, 70% of Gen Z and Gen X, and 66% of the Silent Generation respondents ranking it as important.

First Insight’s findings are based on the results of a U.S. consumer study of a targeted sample of more than 1,000 respondents fielded in December 2019.