Climate Change Is Impacting Millennial Consumer Habits

By Alexandra Patel and Monica Medina

About half of Millennials say they research brands before buying and actively look for more sustainable practices in their consumerism. This is causing drastic changes in the consumer market – all the way from food manufacturing to the luxury goods industry.

Why This Matters: Millennials are revolutionizing what it means to consume. More than any other generation before them, Millennials are considering the sustainability, climate change, and other social impacts of a business, not just an individual product. As Millennials mature and earn more, their share of the consumer market continues to grow.  Moreover, with increased interconnectedness across the world and rapidly expanding technologies, the powerful combination of consumer consciousness and environmentally sustainable business practices can increasingly have an impact.  And when one company increases its market share through improving its sustainability, others notice and try to do the same.

Not Just Healthier Foods, But ‘Healthier’ Practices: “Healthy” has a new meaning for this generation, going beyond purely nutritional factors and demanding that foods also be locally and sustainably sourced.

Revolutionizing the luxury industry: By 2050, millennials are expected to make up 50% of the 1.3 trillion global luxury market. Since 2013, however, luxury consumers’ purchase decisions have shifted dramatically by their concerns about sustainability and social responsibility. According to a piece by the Renewal Project, Millennials “are active in the causes that matter to them from climate control to civil rights” and “are putting their money where their mouth is.” One-way luxury is reaching the Millennial consumer is through the secondhand re-sale market. According to Harvard Business School’s Digital Initiative, “This is the way to eliminate waste in the fashion industry and to reduce fashion’s environmental impact.

Adapt or Die Out: In response to these changes in consumer consciousness, one company has embraced this new environment and thrived. Everlane, an online apparel brand, includes within each product description information on who made it, what it is made of, and where the materials come from, down to the very factory the clothing was sourced.

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