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Young consumers are more environmentally conscious in India and China than in rich countries

Young consumers are more environmentally conscious in India and China than in rich countries

(Bloomberg). According to a Credit Suisse Research Institute report, Gen Z and millennials in China, India, and other emerging economies are more concerned about the environment, more likely to purchase sustainable products, and more skeptical of corporate sustainability claims than their counterparts from developed countries.

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.

According to the report, Gen Z and millennials make up 54% of the global population, and 48% of consumer spending. This number will rise to 68% in 2040, according the report.

The role of the young emerging consumer is particularly important in this regard, given the potential rise for spending power across emerging countries and the fact that demographically, developing nations are more inclined to younger consumers, said the report authors.

The survey also found that Gen Z and millennials were more supportive of government regulation or banning unsustainable products from the marketplace.

Credit Suisses head for global ESG & thematic Research Eugne Klerk said in an email, that the survey did no direct answer why Gen Z or millennials in emerging countries are more sustainable-minded than those in developed economies. He suggested that climate change could explain the differences in attitudes.

He wrote that consumers in emerging markets may have been more affected by global warming than those in developed markets. This could explain why they are more interested in finding solutions. Another reason could also be that younger consumers in developed economies have a lifestyle that’s less sustainable than consumers in developing countries.

Nielsen conducted research on young consumers in five emerging nations (Brazil. China. India. Mexico. South Africa.

It’s a highly environmentally-apprehensive group. The survey found that between 65% and 90% respondents in the 10 countries had high levels of anxiety 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 found that 80% young consumers want to buy sustainable products. However, in China and India, more that 15% of respondents said that they only purchase sustainably made goods.

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Automakers are pleased to report that 63% of Gen Z and millennials plan to purchase an electric or hybrid car. More than half of respondents in China said that they own such vehicles.

However, the majority of young consumers in developed nations said they did not plan to reduce flying. The majority of those in emerging economies, however, expect to reduce their time on planes.

Young consumers are more reluctant to give up environmentally destructive fast fashion. Although 41% of respondents said that they believe the fashion industry cannot be sustained, due to its greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and plastics consumption, only 20% to 40% of those surveyed plan to reduce their fast fashion purchases. China was the exception, with more than half of those surveyed saying they would purchase less fast fashion.

The survey revealed that Gen Z and millennials are skeptical about corporate sustainability claims, with 63% of respondents saying they don’t believe them. Around 60% of respondents from India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico believe that compensation for managers should be linked to the sustainability of a company’s products.

2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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