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The rise of Generation Y in the sustainable marketplace

This article considers the rise of the new generation in sustainable brands. Generation Y, those born between 1977-1998, are showing signs of a major shift in green attitudes and behaviour.

PRLog - Feb. 27, 2013 - Often considered to be "born green" because they grew up in a society where eco-consciousness was becoming a norm, and often to baby boomer parents who founded the environmental movement, it is only recently that Generation Y has begun to show leadership in the sustainable marketplace.

Until now, boomers have dominated the sustainable marketplace, both in terms of attitudes and spending; many have had the disposable income necessary to buy pricier green products (http://www.moorbi.com/). But, the tide appears to be shifting, and many marketers have been eagerly awaiting Generation Y's influence on the green marketplace.

As the first generation that was taught sustainability concepts in school, who came of age amid the climate crisis, and boasting a hefty dose of scepticism when it comes to trusting companies, they are considered a major potential goldmine for sustainable products (http://shop.moorbi.com/products-page/whats-new) and companies, and are increasingly likely to shop consistently with these expectations.

Boomers, and the older generation before them, still care significantly more about issues ranging from workers' rights to women's issues to protecting the environment. And older generations still lead in behaviours such as conserving water or carrying a reusable coffee mug. However, the disparity isn't as big as it used to be, nor is it as universal. Generation Y is showing increased aptitude across numerous dimensions, particularly a willingness to pay for sustainable products and interest in premium sustainable products.

While consumers of all ages say this, Generation Y seems to have higher expectations of sustainability being "baked in" to the product, rather than a line or brand extension; the whole line should incorporate sustainable attributes. Tom's Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair that is bought, is a favourite of Generation Y and a great example of this.

While Generation Y previously had only lukewarm engagement with the sustainability marketplace, as their income has risen and they start families (often a kick-starter for exploring natural and sustainable products), their green product purchases are increasing. For instance, more than a third now say they buy as many eco-friendly products as they can, up from just a quarter five years ago. As their life stage continues to shift to the phase of heaviest consumption, this trend could speed up significantly, and have major implications for manufacturers.

A generation approximately the same size as Baby Boomers, Generation Y is sure to shape the marketplace around its needs and desires. And Generation Y consumers have decades of purchase decisions ahead of them. Understanding what makes this consumer group tick is an investment that will pay off for businesses for years to come.

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