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Brief Published: 12 Nov 2015

Millennials Pay to Shop Sustainably

Some 72% of global consumers aged 15 to 20 would pay more for products from brands committed to positive social and environmental change

Millennials (aged 21 to 34) worldwide are most willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to sustainability, according to a November 2015 report from global market research firm Nielsen. Almost three-quarters of this generation favour ethical brands – an increase from about half in 2014.

  • Conscious-Buying Boom: The number of global consumers prepared to pay more for sustainable products is growing. Personal values are becoming more important than personal benefits, such as cost or convenience. Overall, two-thirds are willing to spend more on sustainable goods in 2015, compared with just over half in 2014.
  • Ethical Gen Z: A rising number of Gen Z (aged 15 to 20) would pay more for products from brands committed to positive social and environmental change, with an increase from 55% in 2014 to 72% in 2015. "Brands that establish a reputation for environmental stewardship among today's youngest consumers have an opportunity to build loyalty among the power-spending millennials of tomorrow," says Grace Farraj, public development and sustainability expert at Nielsen.
  • Income's Irrelevant: It's not just the wealthy cohorts who'll devote their dollars to sustainable offerings. Those earning $20,000 or less are slightly (5%) more willing to spend their money on products associated with positive social or environmental impact than those with incomes of $50,000 or more (68% vs. 63%).

Brands should focus messages on causes that matter to resonate with caring consumers – see IRDC 2015: Ethical Brand Behaviours & Local-Centricity and Sustainable Futures Update: The Consumer of 2030 for more.

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