The Issues Millennials & Gen Z Are Most Passionate About—& Those They Think Are Getting Worse

As the political landscape changes rapidly, we checked in with Millennials and Gen Z to see what causes they’re passionate about now—and what issues they believe are getting worse in the U.S....

On Tuesday, Millennials and Gen Z celebrated their country—but they’re wary (to put it lightly) about the current state of the nation. There’s no need for us to outline the current turbulent state of politics—everyone with a computer, TV, or Twitter account is well-aware of the tensions and controversies surrounding the White House and Washington. But we can tell you how the political landscape is impacting young consumers. Several months into the new presidency, we decided to check in with Millennials and Gen Z to find out that causes they’re currently passionate about, and which they believe are getting better or worse in the U.S. While our survey found that 75% of 13-34-year-olds in the U.S. say they’re proud to be an American, and 70% consider themselves to be patriotic, there are clear signs that they’re anxious about the direction the country is taking. Only 32% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the better,” while a full 75% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the worse.” That’s a significant number. Millennials were slightly more likely than Gen Z to agree that the country is changing for the worse, at 72% and 76% respectfully. Interestingly, though there were also slight differences between the number who agreed with the statement by region (young consumers in the Midwest were slightly less likely to agree, at 72%, and those in the West were more likely to agree, at 77%) the majority of all regions were on the same page.

In January 2017, we asked 13-34-year-olds to tell us the causes/issues that they’re passionate about. But with the…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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