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Friday Jul 11

Conscientious Consumption

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Written by Galia Myron Friday, 21 September 2012 04:07

Boomers and Millennials most likely make ethics-based purchases.

Millennials and Baby Boomers are the most likely to buy products that align with their values and ethics, says a new report examining generational cohorts and consumer behavior. Nearly two-thirds of consumers who say that they purchase products that promote social causes that are consistent with their own values are Millennials or Boomers (32 percent Millennial, 31 percent Boomers), with Generation X comprising nearly one-quarter of socially-conscious consumers, and Matures placing last, with only 13 percent stating that they engage in ethical buying behavior.

Why do Millennials and Boomers lead the pack in conscientious consumer habits? Not since the first wave of Boomers came of age in the 1960s, have we seen such an idealistic youth cohort, say Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, co-authors of Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America.

“Eighty-five percent of both Millennials and Boomers say it is important that their work make a positive impact on the world, as compared with only 75 percent of Gen Xers,” Winograd and Hais maintain. “A 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study showed that these same attitudes influenced both Millennials’ purchasing decisions and their willingness to recommend a company’s products to others.”

The same study, the authors say, found that the vast majority of Millennials (85 percent) were willing to switch brands—product price and quality being equal—if the second brand was linked to a good cause.

Why do generations with more years between them seem to have more in common—at least when it comes to consumer behavior—than those who are closer in age?

Despite the number of years between Boomers and Millennials, Winograd and Hais say, the “behavioral motivation” when making purchasing decisions is the same.

“Both Millennials and Boomers are members of generational archetypes which are externally focused,” they explain. “By contrast, Gen Xers and Matures come from generational archetypes in which members to tend to be focused on themselves and their immediate families, and less concerned about reshaping society.”

Consumer choices are often considered powerful instruments for creating social change, the authors add.

“It is logical that those generations most concerned about society’s future would also be more likely to consider that future when making purchase decisions,” Winograd and Hais conclude.   

 

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