46% in Generation Y Tell Maritz They’ll Spend More with Eco-friendly Retailers

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RAPAPORT… Business consulting firm Maritz Inc., based in St. Louis, Missouri, found that retailers had better pay attention to the younger generation of consumers (Generation Y ages 18-30.) While Maritz’s recent poll found Gen Y is split at 50/50 on whether “eco-friendly” products attract spending dollars, 46 percent said they’d spend more money with a retailer they consider to be environmentally friendly.

“Being environmentally friendly is certainly the right thing to do and we didn’t set out to debate that,” said Gloria Park Bartolone, division vice president of Maritz Research’s Retail Group. “But we thought it would be helpful for retailers, with all the marketing hype surrounding environmental issues, to know what influence this type of messaging had on customer loyalty, particularly Gen Y.”

Gen Y was split down the middle on the influence a retailer’s environmental policy and sustainability had on their shopping habits with 50 percent of respondents saying a retailer’s policy did influence their shopping behavior.

When asked to describe their attitude toward a retailer’s environmentally friendly positioning, 46 percent said they’d shop at a retailer more if they were environmentally friendly, while 54 percent said it wouldn’t affect their behavior.

“When it comes to determining marketing messages to reach Gen Y, this poll revealed some interesting facts for retailers,” said Bartolone. “While the majority wasn’t impacted either way by a store’s environmental stance, you can’t ignore that 46 percent of shoppers said they’d spend more with a retailer that was environmentally friendly. The percentage lends credibility to environmental messaging, which is only likely to gain more momentum with consumers in the future.”

Only slightly fewer respondents (47 percent) said they would be willing to pay more for environmentally friendly services, products or brands. Out of this percentage, the vast majority (77 percent) cited their “care about the environment” as the reason behind their willingness to pay more, with other qualifiers, such as “it’s the right thing to do” (21 percent) or “so that people know I’m environmentally aware” (2 percent) trailing behind.

Maritz polled more than 1,000 randomly selected Gen Y’ers in the United States.

As a side note: Rapaport Group’s own “Gen Y” writer Mordy Rapaport’s monthly column Perspectives appears in the Rapaport Diamond Report. Links to his most recent columns follow:

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