Rise of the conscious consumer – Millennial and Gen Z demand to know how companies are giving back
Young customers are becoming increasingly conscious with their buying decisions and are demanding to know how businesses are giving back to communities, according to new research from global communications platform Infobip.
The research revealed that nearly a quarter of Brits aged 18-24 (24%) are more likely to engage with, or purchase from, a business if they receive information on how that brand is giving back to society through sustainability, environmental, or charitable initiatives. A fifth of 25-34 year-olds felt the same.
However, older Brits appear less interested in hearing about the good deeds of businesses. Only 13% of people aged 55+ care if a brand is giving back. The older generations are more likely to purchase from a brand if they receive communications on their preferred channel (33%).
The findings were uncovered in a survey of more than 6,000 consumers across the UK, France and Spain. The research aimed to get under the skin of what consumers want from brand communications, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced their perspectives.
Championing human interaction
In today’s “never normal”, businesses are struggling more than ever to keep customers happy. More than a quarter (27%) of respondents have become loyal to at least one new brand since lockdown due to poor quality communications. Younger shoppers are least loyal to brands. Since lockdown, nearly a third (31%) say they have switched brands for the same reason. This in comparison to just 5% of those aged 55+ and 12% of those aged between 45-54.
Since lockdown, younger shoppers have also become even more socially conscious. Nearly a quarter of 18-24 year olds (22%) and a quarter of 25-34-year olds are more likely to demand communications from brands that show they care for the community and “have a purpose.”
Meanwhile, three-quarters (74%) of European customers find business messaging lacks a personalised, human connection. But, missing that human touch can alienate a business’s customer base, as almost half (47%) of consumers say that they ignore impersonalised messages.
Just thinking digital isn’t enough
It’s not just what information brands share, but on what platform and when. Nearly half (46%) of British consumers would be put off a brand if they received a phone call from them. But a fifth of 18-24 year olds (21%) and nearly a quarter of 25-34 year olds (24%) from across the UK are now more likely to buy a product as a result of an online communications campaign (direct over email, chat apps), rather than seeing it in store.
Since the start of lockdown, brands have become increasingly dependent on their digital communications tools, due to office closures and staff working remotely. This forced adaption is changing customer expectations too, with two-fifth of Brits (41%) believing that technology has played a greater role in how they have engaged with brands since March. The demand for more digital channels across Europe is even more pronounced in Spain, where 57% believe that digital technology has played a greater role compared to 40% in France.
Nikhil Shoorji, Managing Director Europe at Infobip, said: “It’s clear that a one-size fits all approach will not work. Gen Z and Millennial shoppers have vastly different expectations from Boomers, for example, on what should be communicated and how.
“In today’s “never normal”, organisations must see how they can add a human touch to their communications, personalising interactions, and ensuring they’re able to reach customers across a plethora of channels, depending on their preferences.
“Businesses must focus on building and retaining human connections, and adapting to different audiences – whether it be sharing personalised messages about what a brand is doing to tackle climate change to a more conscious consumer, or simply messaging a shopper when their favourite perfume is on sale. Brands must adapt to this changing consumer behaviour and deliver customer service via multiple platforms, or risk losing customers and revenue.”