There’s no doubt that we’re living in a divisive time, both politically and culturally, in the United States.
But could consumers’ stronger-than-usual feelings about politics and current events influence their purchasing decisions this holiday season?
A new holiday-shopping survey conducted by retail marketing and analytics firm NPD Group found that more consumers this year than last year reported that a company’s position on current social, environmental, and political issues “would affect their purchasing decisions over the holidays,” according to a statement from NPD Group.
Younger respondents, in particular Generation Z consumers born after 1997, were were most sensitive to a company’s stance on social, political, and environmental issues.
More than half of consumers (52 percent) said that a company’s “position on social or environmental issues would impact their holiday buying decisions,” marking a 3 percent rise from 2017. But among Gen Z respondents, that number spiked to 65 percent—which is significant: Gen Z will make up 40 percent of all consumers by 2020.
Fifty-five percent of millennials—consumers born between 1981 and 1996—said a business’s social or environmental stance would affect how they spent this year.
Nearly half (47 percent) of all U.S. consumers polled by NPD said “general political issues” would play a role in their purchasing decisions, which is also three points higher than the 2017 numbers. Nearly half (49 percent) of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, reported that a company’s politics would affect their buying decisions; 48 percent of Gen Z respondents and 47 percent of millennials echoed that sentiment, respectively.
“Younger generations want, and will pay a premium for, brands that stand for something and those that have corporate social programs that are aligned with their values,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser for NPD Group. “In this mid-term election year, political polarization and activism is on the rise in this country, and it’s bleeding into the upcoming holiday season, especially among younger consumers.”
He added, “While many might disregard the social and environmental views of younger consumers, they do so at their own peril.”
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