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Gen Z prefers stylish clothes over eco-friendly

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

22 Jul 2019

Generation Z students, those born between 1995 and 2010, want fashion brands to produce “stylish, high quality” clothes over apparel that is “environmentally responsible”, according to a survey by Unidays.

The research conducted by the world's leading student affinity network sampled 14,500 Generation Z consumers in the US and 3,000 in the UK, to discover insights into their shopping attitudes and while the generation is seen as being environmentally and socially conscientious the Affdex report found that when it comes to choosing which brands to spend their money with, Generation Z students prioritise pragmatic concerns over ethical ones.

In fashion, Gen Z students feel it is more important that brands produce stylish, high-quality clothes, with “great new ranges each season”, than that they behave environmentally responsibly or in an ethical way.

Similar trends emerge in the report across multiple industries, with 11 of the 12 industries the report analysed, ethical considerations did not place in the top three most important considerations driving brand ‘affinity’.

When it comes to fashion brands that Gen Z have an “affinity” with, Asos ranked at the top of the high street fashion charts, ahead of H&M, Primark, Topshop, and New Look. Other brands to make the top 10 included Zara, Urban Outfitters, Converse, Levi’s and River Island.

While in terms of luxury fashion, Gen Z placed Calvin Klein as its number one affinity brand, closely followed by Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. Other luxury names in the top 10 included Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Ray-Ban, Michael Kors and Swarovski.

For sportswear, Nike took top spot ahead of Adidas, Under Armour, JD Sports, and Puma.

Alex Gallagher, Unidays chief strategy officer, said in a statement: “There are a huge range of factors that drive the way students feel about brands. While it’s revealing to see Gen Z’s stereotype doesn’t necessarily stack up, it’s important to note that ethical concerns are still important to this generation. Indeed, ethical concerns ranked in the top ten affinity drivers across all 12 industries Unidays examined.

“What the Unidays Affdex shows is that Gen Z students, like all generations before them, are complicated consumers. Consumers entering the workforce and increasing their buying power each day. The companies looking to succeed, not just in the here and now, but in the future, will need to learn to treat them as more than a stereotype.”