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Gen Z & Millennials Are More Likely to Buy Products Described As…

What labels make Gen Z & Millennials more likely to buy a product? We asked and found the descriptor that makes the biggest impression…


  • Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to buy products that are described as healthy for themselves and the environment
  • These generations are prize high quality above exclusivity
  • However, Gen Z still prioritizes affordability when it comes to the products they buy

We know that Gen Z and Millennials often put a lot of thought into the products they buy, with our Self-Taught trend research finding that 65% have done research about a brand before making a purchase from them. But of course some shopping decisions are more in-the-moment, and there are plenty of more immediate cues that will influence their decisions, including product labeling and marketing. To gauge what kinds of product labels and descriptors are most appealing to these generations, YPulse’s recent Luxury report had 13-39-year-olds rate some words in terms of how they impact the products that they buy, asking them, “Would you be more likely, less likely or just as likely to buy a product that is described as…? and providing 17 diverse options to assess. Here are the results, including the term that is most likely to get both generations to buy a product:

Gen Z & Millennials want products that are not harmful to themselves or the environment.
Clean is the top word that would make Gen Z and Millennials more likely to buy a product, and Gen Z is even more likely than Millennials to be tempted by products that are described as “clean.” The “clean” label has been especially popular in the beauty industry as makeup and skincare brands try to use products that are less harmful or toxic to humans (or animals). In fact, when we asked what beauty trends young females are interested in trying, “clean beauty / personal care products” was their top response. But this label can also be applied to food, household goods, and more. These generations are clearly drawn to the idea of products that don’t contain toxins or chemicals, which they have grown up learning are harmful to their health and should be avoided if possible. But it’s interesting that this “clean” label is currently more attractive to these generations than “organic.” Clean has become a major buzzword, signifying an overall healthiness that Gen Z and Millennials are aspiring to reach.

But Gen Z and Millennials are also attracted to products that are not harmful to the environment, and “sustainable” is a label that nearly half say would make them more likely to buy a product.We’ve told you that climate change is important to young consumers, and it has an impact on their purchases: YPulse’s recent sustainability report found that 37% of 13-39-year-olds say they have changed the products they buy because of climate change, and they clearly want products that aren’t only good for themselves, but are good for the environment. But again we’ll note that “sustainable” performs far better than “green” showing that the former is the bigger buzzword for eco-friendly items at the moment.

They want products that are high quality, but affordability is still important to Gen Z.
“High quality” is second in the ranking of words that would make these generations more likely to buy a product, and performs better than “exclusive,” “limited,” and “luxury.” This is consistent with what YPulse has found for years: the idea of exclusivity is not what drives these generations to buy products. Instead they care about the quality they’re getting for price.

But while “high quality” and “durable” are two of the labels that are most likely to get these generations to buy something, Gen Z is also more likely than Millennials to say they would buy a product that is described as “inexpensive” or “cheap.” Gen Z being less financially stable than Millennials is one of the more obvious factors why they’re more likely to be drawn to buying products that are inexpensive or cheaper. But that doesn’t actually mean they don’t want expensive-like or high quality things. In fact, they’re more likely to say they want “high quality” products than Millennials. Their desire for quality at a lower cost is driving some very specific trends: Nearly half of Gen Z tell us they have purchased a dupe of a luxury product, while over half say the quality of a dupe is less likely to make them buy a luxury item.

So, if you want to attract Gen Z and Millennial buyers, “clean,” “high quality,” and “sustainable” are some of the biggest buzzwords of the moment–and all the better if the product is “inexpensive” as well. Of course it’s not likely that brands can appeal to each one of these desires, but knowing what kinds of descriptors will draw young shoppers closer to purchasing is another step in reaching them, and understanding what they’re looking for.

YPulse Business users can access the full Luxury behavioral report and data here.

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