The Pew Research Center defines millennials as people born between 1981 to 1996 who are now 23 to 38 years old. According to the Census Bureau, millennials consist of 0.8 billion people in India. They also contribute to 21% of end-user discretionary purchases, which are anticipated to exceed one trillion dollars per year. Because they tend to be environmentally conscious, millennial consumer trends are going to play a significant role in changes on the planet.
Millennial preferences are changing the outlook for the Earth’s future. Their spending habits are already having a positive effect in mitigating climate change. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to create a sustainable future for all. The SDGs address inequality, climate change, peace, justice, poverty, and prosperity. The interconnection of these goals ensures that the march toward prosperity and a better future includes everyone.
Millennials believe that protecting the environment should be among their employers’ significant objectives. They expect their employers to set aside workdays for planting trees and community impact initiatives, reducing traffic and pollution by encouraging people to telecommute, and reducing paper use by using emails to distribute agendas.
The transparency and sustainability that millennials require will benefit industries such as fashion, hybrid technology, the sharing economy, clean water, paper recycling operations, fast casual dining versus fast food, and organic food, among others.
1. Fast-Casual Dining Versus Fast Food
Millennials have a strong preference for convenience, and thus they prefer fast-casual dining versus fast food. They are rejecting fast food because of its impact on their health. Increase in lifestyle diseases such as cancer, hypertension, and obesity have forced them to shift from fast food to fast-casual dining. They prefer eating healthily, and they try to exercise to increase longevity and boost their health. Mobile apps for ordering healthy foods have made it easier for them to order food from fast-casual dining restaurants.
Millennials prefer preparing their own salads and sandwiches because they want to be involved in the food preparation process. In 2017, 80% of millennials reported preparing their own food. In 2015, 67% said they preferred cooking at home. Studies show that millennials want food that is healthy, and they either order or prepare this food. They are in charge of their health and wellness. Companies are developing food delivery apps such as UberEats, GrubHub, Eat24, DoorDash, Swiggy and Zomato among others.
Millennials support sustainable fashion style that helps prevent chemicals from being released into the environment. They are more likely to purchase eco-friendly brands such as Patagonia that are known for their environmental practices. According to the latest data from Eco-Pulse, 90% of millennials will buy products from a brand whose social and environmental practices they trust. The research by Eco-Pulse also concluded that 95% of millennials would recommend that brand to a friend using their social platforms and networking devices, such as mobile phones.
Millennials believe that you don’t have to be a hardened environmental and social activist to realize the unbelievable mess caused by fashion. Many textile industries emit carbon, which is harmful to the environment. Many millennials like to reuse fabrics to make such things as gowns, and the leftovers can be recycled to make simple clothing. Millennials also often use eco-friendly sunglasses that reduce waste and promote sustainability.
According to Alice Goody, 44% of younger millennials aged 17 to 26 said they would like to see more eco-friendly fabrics used in clothes to protect the environment. Millennials consider peers such as Sydney Brown, who launched the first eco-friendly shoe heel, as their role model.
In purchasing their clothes, millennials prefer leggings and jeggings that can be worn to work and the gym. They have embraced a minimalist lifestyle in which they purchase fewer clothes. Instead of pants, they prefer clothes that can be worn at home, public places, and the workplace. They also avoid using fabric softeners and sterilizers because of their impact on the environment.
Millennials have grown up with computers and the internet, which has allowed them to understand hybrid technology. Hybrid technology consists of systems that combine two or more technologies to achieve efficient and eco-friendly systems. Examples of hybrid technology include solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid systems, wind-diesel hybrid systems, fuel cell–gas turbine hybrid systems, and solar energy systems that are used in remote areas.
Hybrid technology has become successful in motor vehicles because it reduces gas emissions. It does not release chemicals, pollutants, and other wastes. Hybrid technology is fuel efficient and eco-friendly. Conventional fuels used in vehicles are being replaced by biodiesel and propane fuel, and hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles have emerged as earth-friendly alternatives.
Millennials believe in sharing goods and services in the current economy. Technology has made it easier for millennials to share resources, collaborate, connect with people, and expand the reach of goods and services. They have altered the buying power of the U.S. economy through the scope and scale of the “sharing economy” that has grown exponentially over the past decade. Features of the sharing economy involve sharing resources such as Uber and Uber Eats, Swiggy, and Zoomcar. The sharing economy works for millennials because they are more interested in going to places and sharing experiences than owning things. The sharing economy has increased environmental sustainability by reducing ownership and producing bicycles and cars, which has reduced the pollution emitted from vehicles.
Millennials are interested in fresh and healthy foods and clean water. They believe lack of access to clean water will result in environmental problems and adverse health effects such as diarrhea. Millennials emphasize managing health and long-term quality of life more than any generation before them. This trend has forced many companies and industries to expand product lines and change their business models and promotional tactics.
6.Gym Versus Health Apps
Recent consumer insights predict that the health and wellness industry will be the next trillion-dollar industry. Workout apps such as Peloton are gaining millions of subscribers because millennials prefer outdoor physical experiences over going to a gym. The health and wellness industry includes everything from wearable sports tech that promotes and tracks physical activity, to bottled water and fresh-food delivery services that encourage back-to-basics nutrition.
Millennials support reducing paper use in offices and promote project collaboration through the use of platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox, which helps reduce paper use. They also are no longer sending letters and postcards, and they rely on the internet for communication.
Millennials are investing in companies that are installing smart power grids. According to an Accenture report, in 2018, 61% of millennials signed up for smart technologies and applications. They want to track their energy utilization, and they favor technology gadgets that do not consume much electricity. Solar and wind power are appealing to this generation because they support clean energy solutions. They prefer working in smart and green buildings where energy is conserved.
Millennials have grown up during a time when obesity has become a global epidemic. As such, they try to combat obesity by eating healthily. According to the Organic Trade Association, 52% of millennials eat vegetables. They want healthy food because they are concerned about industrial food production and its adverse effects on the planet. Door to Door Organics and Blue Apron, which deliver quality natural food, are gaining a foothold in the market. Millennials are changing their eating habits, and start-ups should take note of their preferences. Restaurants are also making organic food recipes to entice millennials.
10.Eco-Lodges and Ecotourism
Millennials value to spending time in eco-friendly lodges and hotels. They want to see how these hotels are preserving the environment. They avoid places that use large amounts of electrical power. They travel to destinations where water is heated by solar power, sewer water is recycled, and food is grown naturally, among other environmentally friendly processes. They want places where they can dry their clothes outside and avoid using machines. They are attracted to minimalist lifestyles and low power consumption.
Millennials are dedicated to wellness and living longer by preserving the environment. Climate change and food security is the environmental challenge of this generation, and it’s critical that youth are involved because they will ultimately inherit the earth. Therefore, they support such activities as planting trees to help create a greener environment.
A poll by Clinton Global Initiative and Microsoft found that 76% of millennials are more focused on the environment than their parent’s generation was. 66% of them accept that the earth is getting warmer, and 75% agree that it is a result of human activity. Their preferences and dedication to the environment are helping to ensure that the world’s SDGs are met.