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

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(Bloomberg) — Gen Z and millennial consumers in China, India and other emerging economies are more environmentally conscious, more likely to buy sustainable products and more wary of environmental issues. companies’ sustainability claims than their counterparts in developed countries, according to a Credit Suisse research institute report released on Tuesday.

The survey of 10,000 young consumers in 10 countries suggests significant opportunities in food, fashion, travel, tourism and accommodation for companies that offer products that align with their values, and risks for those who do not.

Gen Z and millennials make up 54% of the world’s population and 48% of consumer spending, which will rise to 68% by 2040, according to the report.

“The role of the emerging young consumer is particularly important in this respect, given the potential increase in purchasing power in the emerging world and the fact that, demographically, developing countries are more geared towards young consumers. “, wrote the authors of the report.

The survey also found more support among Gen Z and millennials in emerging economies for government regulation of unsustainable products or banning them from the market altogether.

Eugène Klerk, head of global ESG and thematic research at Credit Suisse, said in an email that the survey does not directly answer why Gen Z and millennial consumers in emerging economies are more concerned with sustainable development than those in developed countries. But he said climate change may explain the difference in attitudes.

“First, consumers in emerging markets may have been more exposed to the impact of global warming than those living in developed markets, which may explain why they are more engaged in finding solutions,” he wrote. . “Another reason could be that young consumers in developed countries have less sustainable lifestyles than consumers in developing economies.”

Research firm Nielsen surveyed young consumers in five emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) and five developed countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, UK and US)

This is an environmentally conscious cohort. The survey found that 65% to 90% of respondents across the 10 countries had a “high level of anxiety” about sustainability issues. Three-quarters of those concerned about the environment said they intended to live more sustainably by spending more on things like solar panels and electric cars while avoiding fast foods and meat.

The survey revealed that 80% of young consumers intend to buy sustainable products as much as possible, while in China and India more than 15% of respondents said that all their purchases are now for products. sustainably produced.

Good news for automakers phasing out fossil fuel vehicles, 63% of Gen Z and Millennials expect to own an electric or hybrid car. In China, more than half of respondents said they already own such vehicles.

A majority of younger consumers in developed countries, however, said they have no plans to cut flights, while a majority in emerging economies expect to minimize time spent on planes.

Renouncing environmentally destructive fast fashion is a tougher demand for younger consumers. While 41% of respondents said they believe the fashion industry is unsustainable, given its greenhouse gas emissions and water and plastic consumption, only 20% to 40 % intend to reduce purchases of fast fashion. China was the biggest outlier, where more than half said they would buy less fast fashion.

The survey found that Gen Z and Millennials view corporate sustainability claims with suspicion, with 63% saying they don’t believe the claims. Around 60% of respondents in India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and the United States believe that executive compensation should be linked to the sustainability of a company’s products.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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