Young buyers are influencing a number of business trends—including a shift toward sustainability.
For today’s consumers, it’s about more than cost savings – sometimes it’s about saving the planet, too. Buyers—particularly younger demographics—are more aware of the ecological impact of consumerism and are driving a sustainability trend that is prompting companies to reconsider how they do business. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers say they’re willing to pay a premium for goods produced and sold by sustainable brands; up to 73% of Millennials felt similarly.
With younger consumers gaining influence and buying power, what moves can brands make to meet the sustainability trend? Let’s take a look.
To understand how brands can leverage sustainability, we must define what it is that makes a brand sustainable. In short, companies that have successfully integrated social, environmental, and economic directives into their business operations and corporate vision can call themselves sustainable.
Many companies have done just that, but are still finding difficultly connecting with consumers with these efforts. Not only has messaging been a challenge, but young buyers have expressed a desire for companies to do more than just follow sustainability trends – they want them to lead these efforts as well. These buyers are looking for brands that are genuinely interested in making a difference in the world, and they can easily spot those just paying lip service to social issues or checking a box on environmental concerns.
For those organizations making the most effort toward sustainability, the benefits extend beyond consumer attraction to process improvement, community impact, and reputation enhancement. And with so much competition in the marketplace, sustainability efforts also offer a point of difference that can help attract a loyal base.
Opportunity for Electronics
Long term, business should be about more than making profits. Sustainable operations and production help ensure sufficient raw materials and a future market for products and services. This is especially relevant in the consumer electronics space with so much of our daily lives now tied into the production and existence of mobile devices, laptops, and smart tech. The use of environmentally friendly components, the application of efficient design, and the creation of smaller products requires fewer raw materials, reduces energy usage and transport needs, and helps maximize recycling. If these best practices were applied industry-wide, consumer electronics alone could have a significant impact on global sustainability efforts.
If cues are needed, they need only to look to packaging. This industry—which has grown alongside e-commerce—is making major strides toward eco-friendly bags and boxes that reduce material needs and shipping costs, and save valuable shelf space.
Finally, the consumer electronics industry can further promote environmental and social sustainability with products that last. A great way to extend product lifecycles is with the protection of extended warranties. Not only can the benefits offered by warranties help build consumer confidence, but they can also aid sustainability by keeping products out of landfills.