92% of millennials want to buy ethical products

understand and embrace generational differences

Given the findings of the Royal Commission into the banking sector, this is surely the right time to be discussing the importance of ethics in business. This is the final in a series of five thoughts addressing ethics in business and, more specifically, in marketing.

Baby boomers often make disparaging comments about millennials, suggesting that they are lazy, self-absorbed, difficult to communicate with, and short-term in their thinking. As a baby boomer, I have some, though not a lot, of empathy for this view. I also have empathy for the view that whatever they are – we created them.

That said, recent research in the United States found that 61% of millennials are worried about the future of the planet and the impact that business is having on it. That worry is in part self-serving, because they have to live in the world being left to them, but it is also genuine. Further, it has real consequences. The research suggests that this worry has lead millennials to feel personally responsible for making a difference.

One of the consequences, highlighted in other research conducted in the United States is that 92% of millennials want to buy ‘ethical products’ – or products they believe are produced ethically by ethical and responsible businesses.

Aligned to this:

  • 84% of millennials have been found not to trust traditional advertising
  • Millennials are 247% more likely to trust friends than experts
  • 44% of millennials are willing to promote favoured brands through social media

Combined, all of these findings suggest that:

  • Millennials are focused on ethics and ‘buying ethically’
  • Millennials need ethics to be demonstrated not advertised
  • Millennials will rely on and use social media to highlight ethics

There is a growing body of research suggesting that ethics are more important to millennials than they are to previous generations and that this will impact more and more on marketing practices.

Ethical behaviour includes:

  • Participating in community capacity building
  • Providing all staff with good working conditions

In 2018, understand and embrace generational differences

Sources of core statistics – Mintel, Entrepreneurs, Forbes, Choice and WordSteam.

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