Recently, global DTC ecommerce company ESW released the results of a survey examining the impact of brand sustainability on consumer shopping habits from different age demographics. The results confirmed that environmental credentials remain an important decision-making tool in the younger consumer market, with nearly sixty percent of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers declining to purchase from brands perceived as environmentally unsustainable, and more than two-thirds of Millennial shoppers spending more on a product because of a brand’s commitment to more sustainable practices.
As detailed in the company’s press release, “ESW surveyed more than 16,000 shoppers from 16 countries about their attitudes toward sustainable shopping for its recent report, Global Voices: Sustainable Global Growth and Shopper Expectations.”
The survey was conducted in November of last year, and respondent countries included “Canada, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, India, China, South Korea, Japan and Australia,” the release confirmed.
There was a total of 16,557 responses recorded, and data from these responses was examined and compiled to produce results and conclusions. Further, the Global Voices study defined age demographics accordingly: “in this report, Gen Z is defined as those between eighteen and twenty-four; Millennials as those ages twenty-five through forty; Gen X as those ages between forty-one and fifty-six; and Baby Boomers defined as those ages fifty-seven and seventy-five.”
Results and key takeaways
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, President and Chief Executive Officer, ESW Americas, shared in the ESW release regarding the survey that overall, results indicated “younger consumers are acutely conscious of a brand’s efforts towards sustainability.” This conclusion was strongly supported by the finding that “younger markets, which offer prime ecommerce expansion opportunities for brands, demonstrate a higher degree of consumer sustainability consideration,” the release said.
The data reflects that this position is consistently held globally with a particular focus in developing markets: countries with consumers that have the highest concern for sustainability include India at ninety-eight percent; China; at ninety-four percent; UAE at ninety-four percent; Mexico at ninety-three percent; and South Korea at ninety percent; compared to mature markets such as Canada at sixty-five percent; Japan at sixty-six percent; and the US, UK, and Australia at seventy percent, as shared in the release.
Bousquet-Chavanne added: “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.”
This conclusion is strongly supported by the Global Voices survey data and is particularly true regarding consumer decision making towards purchasing cosmetics and personal beauty care products: nearly half, or forty-six percent of respondents confirmed they “consider options for environmentally friendly packaging when making purchases,” reported the release. Further, “awareness of greenwashing has increased” overall, the survey revealed, “with sixty-two percent of consumers more aware of this practice today than they were a year ago.”
Considerations regarding environmentally sustainable packaging and shipping materials and practices were a major focus of consumers, the survey results also demonstrated. About this area of concern, Bousquet-Chavanne shared that “this shift towards eco-conscious consumerism should serve as a wake-up call for brands to be more transparent with their manufacturing, packaging, and shipping practices,” detailed the release.
This is evidenced by results confirming that “seventy-five percent of luxury shoppers,” including those of cosmetic and personal care products, “say they expect transparency and information on the environmental credentials of the brand/retailer.” Further, the results revealed, “sixty-seven percent of shoppers consider ethical production when shopping online.”
Of those respondents, “sixty-three percent have sought out products in sustainable packaging, forty-two percent include options for less packaging overall when making their purchase consideration, and thirty-five percent include options for green delivery, such as electric vehicles and carbon offsetting,” the release said.
Moving forward, ESW’s Global Voices survey data supports the assertion that it is prudent for manufacturers, suppliers, and consumer facing brands in the cosmetic and personal care product industries to consider consumer preferences regarding sustainable formulation, production, packaging, and shipping options moving forward, particularly if those companies are targeting younger consumer demographics.