How Young Consumers Really Feel About Eco-Friendly Products, In 5 Stats

Do Millennials and Gen Z actually care about how environmentally friendly a product is? Our data tells the story of their (not always straightforward) views on eco-friendly goods and brands…

Millennials have long been considered eco-warriors, and their dedication to environmental issues has influenced brands to go green for years. And with Gen Z jumping on the eco bandwagon, young consumers are shaping an environmental movement that stretches beyond hashtags and into real action. In 2018 this reached fever pitch. In December, 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg grabbed headlines when she told members of the U.N. they “weren’t mature enough” to stop climate change. Just a month before that, 21 teens and tweens sued the U.S. government over climate change. And then there’s Zero Hour, a youth-led coalition driving the movement to call for action on climate change and environmental justice globally (demonstrations are planned for March 15th in the U.S.). 

Millennials and Gen Z also led a major revolt against plastic last year, causing to call 2018 “the year that hating plastic straws went mainstream.” With pressure from the #StopSucking movement, which aimed to get brands and companies to drop useless plastic straws, companies as far-reaching as Starbucks, Disney, Hyatt, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, SeaWorld, and more pledged to ditch the plastic straw. While some have criticized that this movement is a drop in the eco-bucket when it comes to saving the planet, Millennials and Gen Z know they have to start somewhere. As the CEO of sustainable retailer For Days told us, “Young consumers are becoming more and more aware of how their choices and consumer habits affect the planet,” an awareness they’re using to push brands to go zero-waste and, of course, get…


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Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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