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Purchasing as commitment: How brand values matter to Gen Z

by Stephanie H.
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    When it comes to the future, Gen Z is hopeful but uncertain. In part two of our series on Gen Z and the future, we explore how Gen Z’s outlook plays a key role in their purchasing decisions—and what this means for brands.


    If you haven’t read part one, you can go back and read it here.

    Ask any Gen Z how they feel about the future, and they’re bound to respond with some very mixed messages—at least when asked about their future vs. what lies ahead for the world at large. Zs are crossing into exciting times (attending college, graduating and entering the workforce, even possibly considering marriage) and worrisome ones as well. They have concerns about the environment, getting a good job, and paying for healthcare.  

    These issues are real and complex. Brands would be wise to acknowledge Zs concerns and approach them as partners and collaborators in building the future, engaging them with messaging that encourages their feedback and supports the issues important to them.


    Earn Gen Z's loyalty by helping them build a better future. Download the report, Gen Z: Preparing to Face the Futureto learn about what matters most to these  young consumers.


    We asked Gen Zs what brands they foresee taking with them through adulthood and why. Savvy marketers take note: product quality, your organization’s values and straight-up good design all matter.


    What brands that you shop now will you stick with in the future, and why?

    “I haven’t purchased from Everlane because they’re out of my price point for now, but I see myself making many purchases from them. They are sustainable, give their workers living wages and ensure their products are cruelty free.”

    “I also really like Chobani yogurt. The founder of that company is a refugee from Kurdistan and works hard to ensure he provides living wages and basic rights to his employees. He recently helped pay off Rhode Island's school lunch debt. I think that is truly magnificent and one way capitalism can positively impact the world.”


    Patagonia because everything is good quality and they don’t hurt the environment.”


    “I enjoy shopping at Nike and Patagonia because of their dedication to being environmentally healthy. Nike has made several big changes to ensure that their products are safe for the earth.”


    “A year ago, I decided to stop shopping at fast fashion stores. I do most of my shopping at local thrift stores or vintage shops. That said, some online brands that I like are Modcloth, Need & Supply and & Other Stories, but because they're not fast fashion, they're more expensive, so if I shop there, it is always in the sale section.”


    Lush has an impressive public service business model. When I was working in a shower facility for refugee women in Greece, Lush donated thousands of soaps, shampoos and conditioners.”


    “Brands that I’ll stick with are probably Converse, because you need a good shoe that’ll hold up and is stylish. I love how they feel, and how they look and I always get a new pair when the old pair wears out. Other than that, I’m always open to trying new brands, constantly wondering what’s new out there and what’s best for me and the environment.”


    “I’m an avid Urban Outfitters shopper and I see that brand being here for the long run because, even though it is expensive, I like the aesthetic they have going on. Another brand I’ll stick with is Nike. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Nike anything.”


    Growing a future with Gen Z: What brands can do

    Gen Zs are not shying away from reality. The issues they’re grappling with will undoubtedly be challenging to unravel, but most Zs are willing to try. When your brand’s actions align with their core values, Gen Z will listen—and join together with you to act.


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