Gen Z is the generation most willing to pay a premium for sustainable products (73%) compared to millennials (68%), Gen X (55%), Silent Generation (50%) and baby boomers (42%).
Some of Gen Z are more inspired by figures like Greta Thunberg and no-waste queen Lauren Singer. Activism comes naturally to this cohort, who vote with their wallet and will abandon a brand they feel disagrees with their views. They feel a deep association between their behaviors as a consumer and a citizen. Youth-focused publications like Teen Vogue have evolved their messaging to reflect the activism of this new woke generation. They’re educated about the things they buy and where they come from and know how to use the internet and social media to learn about and communicate with brands. Extremes like waste-free lifestyles don’t seem so extreme to Gen Z, who can help introduce these concepts to older family or community members. More than other generations, Gen Z identifies themselves and builds connections around a desire to change the world. For example, a 2019 Tinder study found that users under 25 were more likely to include causes in their bio; millennials were 3x more likely to mention travel than causes. “Environment “ and “climate change” were among those mentioned most often.
However, there’s another cohort among Gen Z that values looking good even more than the environment. These shoppers patronize fast fashion despite its documented effects on the planet. They favor quantity over quality, trying to avoid repeating outfits for the sake of Instagram. “Party clothes” in particular are especially disposable. Often the younger end of the spectrum, this cohort has limited discretionary income to spend and is extra value-conscious.
Female consumers do most of their shopping with online retailers like Missguided, Pretty Little Thing, rather than in stores. On the male side, young streetwear consumers chase hype in a consumption cycle that often has new release items falling in and out of fashion within the span of a week. They’re comfortable shifting between in-store browsing, online shopping secondhand platforms for the best prices. The challenge for brands is to speak to both groups as they age into increased spending power. Embracing secondhand is a means to reach both of them, and encouraging resale can help break the cycle of fast fashion’s excess waste.
More related articles: Fast fashion is a feminist issue, 135 countries fighting for “Friday’s for Future”, What do Gen Z shoppers want? A cute, cheap outfit that looks great on Instagram, As climate change takes center stage, brands step up efforts to fight it.
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