The pressing concerns for the existential threats of climate change and the detriments of pollution may have a bright spot in the future. That beacon of hope lies in Gen Z, who has been environmentally conscious and passionate, expressing not only the understanding of the need for everyday sustainable practices but actually the desire to actively perform them.
While baby boomers have wielded much of the purchasing power for decades, their sheer numbers are quickly being caught up to by Gen-Z, the soon-to-be second-largest generation (67.17 million strong). This is the generation that businesses will need to concern themselves with catering to for the foreseeable future, and getting on this generation’s positive side will be tougher as they shop with their consciousness as much as with their wallets.
Most Eco-friendly Generation
Gen Z-ers are far more likely than previous generations to do their part, even if it's on a minor scale, like utilizing metal straws, natural household cleaning supplies, and reusable shopping bags, to try and preserve the environment and the health of the planet. After all, they are the ones who will be living in this world. But this generation is not limited to small, environmentally-friendly adjustments, but more sweeping and hopeful acts like turning away their business and support from industries and companies who engage in practices that are detrimental to the environment. One of the industries that are on their radar, making the industry heads uneasy, is clothing companies and the overall fashion industry.
In fact, a First Insight survey from 2019 found that not only is 73% of Gen Z-ers likely to pay extra (10% or more) for environmentally sustainable products, 62% prefers to make purchases from only brands that produce and market products with sustainability in mind. Sustainability is not entirely environmental either.
More than any other generation, Gen Z gets the most information and consumes the most feedback about products they are likely to purchase. Growing up alongside modern technology has made Gen Z inherently able to acquire information about their favorite brands and to research company policies. They are in the market for upcycled goods. In other words, they look for product value more than anything, and sustainability means that the product will last them a long time, giving them the best performance for their money. For industries, this means that it won’t be long before they must conform to the market demands issued by this generation, regardless of how they feel about it in ethical or financial terms if they hope to continue getting Gen Z customers.
This ability and desire to dig deep for facts and information has also armed Gen Z with the ability to spot greenwashing practices, a term for a company that uses eco-friendly terminology to present their brand and company operations while continuing practices that are environmentally detrimental and unethical.
Companies throw out terms like natural, organic, pure, and recycled, but often do that to put a rosy face on the overall lack of utilization of any of those in practice, typically in the interest of cost-cutting. This is the reason that companies like Forever 21 have had a falling out with many Gen Z consumers. Companies are finding it far more challenging to retain their market presence by simply throwing eco-friendly buzzwords around and are being forced to either suffer consumer losses or fall in line with more environmentally sustainable practice choices. That's why it's very important to develop a customised marketing campaigns for generation Z and our international marketing agency can help you with this.
Many clothing companies continue to try to skirt their way around environmentally-conscious practices to this day, largely due to the lack of focus on the matter and resources to handle such an undertaking. After all, completely overhauling the practices that span decades is no easy feat. But at this point, Gen Z is draining these companies of reasons and excuses to not be more sustainable. In no uncertain terms, not adopting an eco-friendly strategy of operation is going to cost these brands consumers and money more and more as Gen Z assumes that dominant chunk of the consumer market.
Fashion brands are starting to understand that it is time to get together the appropriate resources to transform the industry, one company at a time, to a more sustainable one to market more effectively to Gen Z. The most logical approach is the formation of committees aimed at evaluating sustainability, creating more efficient generation Z marketing campaigns and studying the financial fallout for those brands who are not willing to move in a more eco-friendly direction.