Generation Y, « born green » has begun to show leadership in the sustainable marketplace


This morning, the Guardian Sustainable Business published a post explaining how Generation Y is showing signs of a major shift in green attitudes and behaviour. Understanding what makes this consumer group tick is an investment that should pay off for businesses for years to come.


Generation Y, those born between 1977-1998, is showing signs of a major shift in green attitudes and behaviour. Often considered to be « born green » because they grew up in a society where eco-consciousness was becoming a norm, and often to baby boomer parents who founded the environmental movement, it is only recently that Generation Y has begun to show leadership in the sustainable marketplace. Until now, boomers have dominated the sustainable marketplace, both in terms of attitudes and spending; many have had the disposable income necessary to buy pricier green products. But, the tide appears to be shifting, and many marketers have been eagerly awaiting Generation Y’s influence on the green marketplace.

For instance, the percentage of Generation Y who report that they « buy as many green/eco-friendly products as they can » is up to 36% in 2012 from 31% in 2009, a 16% growth rate during some tough economic times, according to our survey of 4,000 US adults.

One category that is seeing this growth is the natural/organic personal care market (haircare and skincare etc) – 39% of Generation Y report purchasing such a product in 2012 versus just 27% in 2009. As the first generation that was taught sustainability concepts in school, who came of age amid the climate crisis, and boasting a hefty dose of scepticism when it comes to trusting companies, they are considered a major potential goldmine for sustainable products and companies, and are increasingly likely to shop consistently with these expectations.



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