Already known as the most environmentally conscious generation, Gen Z appears to be putting their money where their mouths are. According to a new study conducted by ESW’s Global Voices on more than 16,000 participants, younger consumers are making eco-friendly choices and want more sustainability from beauty brands.
President and CEO of ESW Americas, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne notes that transparency in ethical and sustainable practices are motivating factors for Gen-Z buyers. “Younger consumers are acutely conscious of a brand’s efforts towards sustainability,” he explains. “There’s a well-known, ongoing debate over whether these consumers’ values actually align with their shopping behaviors, but our most recent data shows that the majority will, in fact, take sustainability practices into account when making purchase decisions and may even refuse to buy from a brand that doesn’t have (or make public) their environmental credentials.”
According to the study, nearly 60% of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers report they have stopped buying brands without environmental credentials. In addition, 66% of consumers reported spending more on a product because it was sustainable.
This desire for sustainability comes alongside an increasing awareness of greenwashing. Brands that advertise their sustainable practices but don’t adhere to them contribute to an overall lack of trust in the market. 62% of consumers were more aware of greenwashing practices than this time last year, further indicating a desire for transparency and reliability.
Spending More for Sustainability
While other market research suggests younger generations are inclined to wait for sales rather than spend more on beauty, this study demonstrates that this isn’t always the case. Gen Z and Millennial shoppers have ethical considerations that can outweigh even a price difference.
This carries on to luxury shoppers, who had the highest expectation of transparency, with 75% of luxury consumers expecting credible information on a brand’s environmental impact.
It is worth mentioning that environmentally conscious shopping habits were found across the board in the younger generations. In the U.S. and U.K. markets, 70% of younger consumers are shopping with concern for the environment, compared to 65% of Canadians. The country with the highest level of environmental concern was India, with 98% of Gen Z and Millennials shopping with sustainability in mind.
These stats also tell us what kind of sustainability Gen Z is most interested in, with the majority focused on ethical production, sustainable packaging, and less packaging overall. Carbon offsets, on the other hand, were only considered by 35% of shoppers, despite how popular this option may be to brands.
Ultimately, it appears Gen Z and Millennials are emphasizing transparent, and credible sustainability in their own shopping habits and helping us define what sustainability really means going forward.