Sustainability Is Factoring into 2019 Holiday Purchases

Younger consumers are increasingly mindful of where they shop

Discounts and low prices are historic holiday asks. But this year, sustainability is also top of mind. According to a recent survey, shoppers are more mindful of who they do business with, especially as it pertains to the environment.

Coleman Parkes Research, on behalf of Accenture, conducted an online survey of 1,500 consumers in 17 cities, including New York, Seattle and Detroit. On average, 34% of respondents said they were unaware of the negative environmental impact faster shipping causes. But, 50% said they'd be willing to try greener delivery options this holiday season, such as a slower shipping option or in-store pickup.

Shoppers also said they wanted to do business with retailers that were environmentally conscious. Fully, 47% of consumers surveyed said so.

This shift has been a long time coming. According to a January 2019 survey from Hotwire, 47% of internet users worldwide said they had switched to a different product or service because a company violated their personal values. Protecting the environment topped the list of reasons consumers switched, and 5% cited concerns about climate change.

This trend toward increased sustainability is especially prominent among younger cohorts. According to a study from the International Trademark Association (INTA) conducted in November 2018, 89% of US Gen Z internet users ages 18 to 23 felt that brands should aim to do good in the world.

Gen Zers' eco-conscious values were seen also in a June 2019 study from A.T. Kearney. The research revealed that 58% of Gen Z internet users in the US and Canada wanted eco-friendly packaging, and 57% were seeking environmentally sustainable products. But because this generation lacks in spending power, only 38% were willing to pay more for these "green" options.

This lack of discretionary funds shouldn’t drive retailers to disregard Gen Z's influence. According to a May 2019 online survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than four in five parents said they involved their children in purchases more than their own parents did with them. And Gen Zers influenced 36% of purchases for the household, with 48% of respondents noting their child influenced the product features that are important to the family.