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Credit Suisse: The young consumer and a path to sustainability

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The young consumer and a path to sustainability

01.02.2022

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The Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI) today released an in-depth study assessing the importance of sustainability for young consumers; how likely they are to focus their consumer spending on sustainable products and services; and which categories of spending are most likely to have the greatest impact.

The report examines the responses of 10,000 people aged 16 to 40 in ten countries. It examines the need to tackle climate change from the ultimate driver of all emissions: the consumer, assessing how aware young consumers are of the environment and whether they are ready to lead a more sustainable accordingly. Estimates suggest that this group now accounts for 48% of global consumer spending, which could rise to 68% by 2040.

Eugène Klerk, Head of Global ESG & Thematic Research at Credit Suisse, commented: “It has long been known that the younger generation takes climate considerations much more seriously than previous generations, understanding and championing the path of change. With this survey, we were able to dig deeper into the different facets of sustainability that young consumers are particularly interested in and retrieve valuable insights into 10 key markets. Interestingly, we find that millennials are leading their millennial cohorts Z in terms of allegiance to the sustainable agenda and, somewhat surprisingly, we find Emerging consumers seem to me to be more globally committed to the environment than those in more developed markets. Considering that these young people will soon become the biggest spenders in the coming decades, it is important that we understand their values ​​and consumption preferences.

Main findings

  • Emerging consumers are at the forefront of sustainability – A key finding of the analysis is that engagement around the topic of sustainability is significantly higher for Gen Z and Millennial consumers in emerging economies than for those living in developed countries . The proportion of environmentally conscious consumers, accepting that stricter regulation may be needed, willing to pay more for sustainable products and willing to switch to more sustainable products is highest in Mexico, India and China . The reverse seems true for those living in France, Germany and the United States.
  • Environmental concern is high – Survey readings indicate a high level of anxiety among young consumers about sustainability: 65% to 90% of consumers in the ten countries are concerned or very concerned about the environment. However, belief in a more sustainable future appears low as less than 30% believe long-term climate change goals are likely to be met. Nevertheless, around 75% of environmentally conscious young consumers aim to live sustainably in the future, while 25% will try to convince their family and friends to do the same.
  • Education is key to achieving a sustainable society – The survey strongly supports the argument that creating a more sustainable world requires greater attention to educating consumers about the environmental intensity of consumer products and services. The results show a consistent positive correlation between a consumer’s commitment to sustainability and the level of education attained. Some 60% of consumers surveyed emphasize the need for more emphasis on sustainability in education in order to increase sustainability.
  • Young consumers show a strong willingness to increase spending on sustainable products such as solar energy, home insulation and electric vehicles. In addition to personal responsibility, young consumers feel the need for banning and taxing unsustainable products, as well as greater education and stricter governance and reporting requirements for companies. Skepticism about what companies report and how they report on sustainability remains high.

  • Central role for food consumption and production – Young consumers show a strong desire to switch to a more sustainable diet, particularly focused on reducing the consumption of fast food and meat. Growth prospects for alternative food appear strong, with 66% of consumers surveyed intending to increase their purchases of plant-based meat and dairy products. Additionally, almost 40% of environmentally conscious respondents already want to try cultured meat.
  • Decline of “fast fashion” – The last decade has seen the rise of ‘fast fashion’, where clothes are cheaper and thrown away faster, with serious repercussions for the environment and the climate. Findings show that over 40% of consumers think the fashion industry is unsustainable with, on a net basis, more respondents expecting to reduce their consumption of fast fashion and brands luxury.
  • The survey results suggest a rapid shift in consumer preferences in choice of travel and transportation In the years to come. It revealed that 63% of all respondents expect to own electric/hybrid vehicles, more than three times the 19% who currently own electric/hybrid vehicles. This preference is even more marked among respondents from emerging countries, consumers with a higher or higher level of education and consumers in the 25-30 age group. In contrast, consumer preference for flying may be slower to change.

  • Investment in energy efficient technologies hampered by lack of education – Similar to trends observed in other sectors, young consumers in emerging countries are more likely than those in developed countries to invest in energy-saving technologies for the household. Lack of education is one of the biggest barriers to adopting energy efficient technologies, especially heat pumps. Additionally, respondents said they were more likely to make such investments if they could lower their monthly energy bills or better understand the environmental benefits.


To read the full report, please visit: www.credit-suisse.com/researchinstitute.

About the Credit Suisse Research Institute
The Credit Suisse Research Institute is Credit Suisse’s internal think tank. The Institute was created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis with the aim of studying long-term economic developments, which have – or promise to have – a global impact within and beyond financial services. Further information on the Credit Suisse Research Institute can be found at www.credit-suisse.com/researchinstitute.

Swiss credit
Credit Suisse is one of the world’s leading financial services providers. Our strategy builds on Credit Suisse’s core strengths: its position as a leading wealth manager, its capabilities as a specialist investment bank and its strong presence in our home market of Switzerland. We seek to follow a balanced approach to wealth management, aiming to capitalize on both the vast pool of wealth in mature markets as well as the significant wealth growth in Asia-Pacific and other emerging markets, while also serving major developed markets with a focus on Switzerland. Credit Suisse employs approximately 49,950 people. The registered shares (CSGN) of Credit Suisse Group AG are listed in Switzerland and, in the form of American Depositary Shares (CS), in New York. Further information about Credit Suisse can be found at www.credit-suisse.com.

Warning
This document was produced by and the views expressed are those of Credit Suisse at the time of writing and are subject to change. It has been prepared solely for information purposes and for the use of the recipient. It does not constitute an offer or invitation by or on behalf of Credit Suisse to anyone to buy or sell securities. Any reference to past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. The information and analysis contained in this publication has been compiled or obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but Credit Suisse makes no representation as to its accuracy or completeness and accepts no responsibility for any loss arising from use of it.

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Credit Suisse Group AG published this content on February 01, 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by public, unedited and unmodified, on February 01, 2022 09:41:07 UTC.

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