Credit Suisse Research Institute released Tuesday a report that found Gen Z and millennials in China and India are more conscious of the environment and more likely to buy sustainable products than their counterparts in developed nations.
A survey of 10,000 young consumers in 10 different countries shows significant opportunities in the housing, fashion, travel, and tourism industries for companies that offer products that are in line with their values. There are also risks for those who don’t.
The report states that Gen Z and millennials represent 54% of the world’s population and 48% each of consumer spending. However, this number is expected to rise to 68% by 2040.
This is especially important given the potential rise of spending power in the emerging world and the fact, according to the report authors, that developing countries tend to be more inclined toward younger consumers.
The survey also showed that Gen Z and millennials in emerging countries are more supportive of government regulation of unsustainable products, or banning them entirely from the market.
Credit Suisse’s global ESG & Thematic Research head Eugne Klerk stated in an email that the survey didn’t directly answer why Gen Z and millennials in emerging economies are more environmentally conscious than those in developed countries. He suggested that climate change could explain the differences in attitudes.
He suggested that emerging market consumers might be more vulnerable to the effects of global warming than people in developed countries, which could explain why they are more committed to finding solutions. Another reason could be the fact that consumers in developed countries are more likely to live in a less sustainable lifestyle than those in developing countries.
Group that is environmentally apprehensive
Nielsen, a research firm, conducted a survey of young consumers in five emerging countries (Brazil. China. India. Mexico. South Africa. Five developed countries (France. Germany. Switzerland. The United Kingdom.
It’s a highly environmentally-apprehensive group. The survey revealed that between 65% and 90% of the respondents in the 10 countries expressed concern about sustainability issues. Three quarters of those concerned about the environment stated that they plan to live more sustainably and spend more on solar panels and electric cars, while shunting fast food.
The survey revealed that 80% of young consumers plan to buy sustainable products. In India and China, more than 15% of respondents stated that all of their purchases are for sustainably manufactured goods.
Good news for automakers that are phasing out fossil fuel cars, 63% Generation Z and Millennials expect to own an electrical or hybrid electric vehicle. More than half of respondents in China said that they own such vehicles.
However, the majority (60%) of young consumers living in developed countries said that they don’t plan to stop flying. While the majority of emerging economies expect to cut down on their travel time, most in emerging markets say so.
Young consumers are more reluctant to give up environmentally destructive fast fashion. 41% of respondents believed that the fashion industry was unsustainable. However, considering its greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, only 20% to 40 percent of those surveyed intend to decrease their fast fashion purchases. China was the exception with more than half saying they would buy less fast fashion.
The survey found that Gen Z, millennials and others view corporate sustainability claims with suspicion. 63% said they don’t believe such claims. A majority of respondents in India and Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and the U.S. believed that compensation for management should be tied to the sustainability products of companies.