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Packaging sustainability influences Gen Z shopping choices, research says

Jeremy Lim
28 April 2022

Packaging sustainability influences the online shopping habits of more than half of Gen Zs, according to new research from packaging manufacturer and consultancy Duo.

According to figures from its new report, 'The Recommerce Generation, How Gen Z will shape the future of packaging',  56% of 1,036 Gen Z consumers are less inclined to buy from a retailer again or would look for a different retailer in the future if delivery packaging wasn’t sustainable or resourceful.

While 37% said they would look beyond the environmental credentials of packaging to shop with a retailer again if they liked the product they bought, 7% remain undecided about how packaging sustainability affects their purchasing.

Duo said the data highlights a growing eco-curiosity amongst Gen Zs, with 50% of online shoppers in this generation taking notice of on-pack sustainability claims. In addition, 37% are making a conscious effort to read green messages displayed on packaging.

Research data also showed Gen Zs look for recyclability and reusability when determining how sustainable packaging is. 78% ranked the ability to recycle packaging locally as an important green trait, with 73% keen to be able to reuse packaging.

The research found that 60% of Gen Zs are more likely to buy from a retailer offering pre-loved items, either in-store or online, with the opportunity to save money proving the biggest motivation for 31% when buying used goods.

Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director at Duo said: "The popularity of pre-loved fashion is driving growing demand for packaging reusability amongst Gen Zs. 52% are re-selling clothing and want to be able to use packaging again when they’re trading and shipping via pre-loved marketplaces.

"Recyclability has long been the defining trait for consumers when determining how sustainable they think packaging is. This continues to ring true for Gen Zs but we’re also seeing a shift towards the resourcefulness of packaging, which is being driven by booming pre-loved and re-commerce trends.

"Gen Zs are thinking more about the lifecycle of packaging, which creates a new opportunity for retailers to change sustainability narratives."

Contributing to The Recommerce Generation report, Nick Beighton, former CEO of online retailer ASOS, said: "In order to build trust with Gen Z consumers, businesses must be transparent about their sustainability journey and what action they’re taking to improve circularity. This should be weaved into all marketing collateral, from pre-purchase through to on-pack messaging. Gen Z consumers care a lot about packaging, and if you’re not communicating your choices proactively, or providing information on how packaging can be reused or recycled as part of a circular approach - just like the garments they’re buying and/or selling - consumers will vote with their purchasing power and leave your brand behind.

"Undoubtedly more change is coming, as this research shows. In order to futureproof your business, brands and retailers need to take greater responsibility for the materials they use to deliver positive environmental change. Making better choices for your customers now will prepare your business to meet future demand, as well as educating and inspiring consumers to do better themselves."

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