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Gen Z consumer inspired by sustainability and self-expression

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: courtesy of Depop

Gen Z’s shopping behaviours are “strongly influenced” by brands commitments to social and environmental sustainability, according to a new report from marketplace Depop and consultancy firm Bain and Company.

Based on a survey of 2,000 Gen Z Depop buyers and sellers in the UK, US and Australia, the ‘Futureproof: How Gen Z’s empathy, awareness and fluidity are transforming business as usual’ report shows that Gen-Z consumers have shifted how they shop and that they are concerned about consumption, sustainability and self-expression.

When it comes to sustainability, 90 percent of Gen Z consumers surveyed said they have made changes to be more sustainable in their daily lives and more sustainable fashion practices play a central role.

70 percent added that they are influenced by commitments to fair wages and safety, while 60 percent want to know a brands commitment to diversity and inclusion. In addition, 60 percent are driven by a brand reducing its footprint and 45 percent are influenced by eco-friendly materials.

Peter Semple, chief brand officer at Depop, said in a statement: “Gen Z are changing fashion consumption with their approaches to self-expression and identity, and by redefining the way newness is understood and appreciated. This is a generation leading change at global scale – they are increasingly influencing the consumption behaviours of older generations, and are rapidly gaining spending power.

“In order for fashion businesses to succeed with current and future consumers, they must believe in and serve the interests of these audiences. Fluidity, constant evolution and clear values are the means to be a futureproof brand – and we use those principles to guide the development of our social, purposeful, community-driven fashion marketplace.”

Gen Z consumption influenced by brands commitment to social and environmental sustainability

The survey also revealed that 75 percent of Depop users use the platform to buy second-hand fashion as a way to reduce their consumption, while 65 percent added it allows them to purchase clothing at a lower price, and 55 percent said it was to buy one-of-a-kind items.

Other reasons for using Depop include tapping into trends (45 percent) and because it is a “cool thing to do” (35 percent).

Federica Levato, a partner at Bain and Company and head of the firm’s fashion-luxury practice in EMEA, added: “Brands will need to make sure they understand the unique customers that are Gen Z: they may be young, but they have strong opinions and have high expectations for the brands with which they interact.

“Values such as sustainability and equity are paramount to them and heavily influence their purchasing choices. As Gen Z gains spending power, building a lasting connection and dialogue with these new consumers will be key for brands to be successful.”

Bain and Company
Gen Z