Gen Z Furthers the Sustainability Movement

More shopping decisions will be made based on sustainable retail practices than with prior generations.        

As the oldest members of Generation Z move into the workforce, a new study by retail technology company First Insight, Inc. reports more shopping decisions will be made based on sustainable retail practices than with prior generations.        

“While Baby Boomers seem to be the holdouts when it comes to expecting more sustainable practices within retail overall, the research shows that with every generation, sustainability is becoming further embedded in purchase decisions,” says Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “With Generation Z on track to becoming the largest generation of consumers this year, retailers and brands must start supercharging sustainability practices now if they are to keep pace with expectations around sustainability for these next-generation consumers, whether it is through consignment, upcycling or even gifting around major holidays.”

As recommerce continues to gain traction year-on-year, more than half of every generation reported shopping at secondary markets. Upcycling appears to be the hottest development of late, with the majority of younger generations including Generation Z (59 percent) and Millennials (57 percent) purchasing upcycled products, items made of discarded objects or materials to create a piece of higher quality or perceived value than the original. Perhaps surprisingly, the Silent Generation was more inclined to buy upcycled products than Baby Boomers. 

The RealReal, ThredUp, Poshmark and Tradesy were reported as the second-most popular recommerce models with Generation Z (46 percent), Millennials (48 percent) and Generation X  (46 percent) using these services. Baby Boomers (39 percent) and the Silent Generation (22 percent) use them less, but still more than other recommerce models. 

Trailing behind in last place were clothing swaps, with less than 20 percent of Gen X, Baby Boomer and the Silent Generation respondents reporting it to be a favorable channel. Peer-to-peer marketplaces, such as Storr and rentals, were also not preferred by any generation, with less than 10 percent of respondents reporting using them.

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