Thursday, 03 March 2022

How sustainability is key to unlocking the full potential of the Gen Z market

Written by Viviane Paxinos
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Good Faces - Unsplash

With brands constantly looking to stay ahead of the game and meet the ever-evolving needs of customers, one demographic that they cannot afford to overlook is Gen Z.

Gen Z are not only hyper-informed and hyper-connected, but also extremely conscious of issues relating to the environment and the welfare of workers and stakeholders in the fashion industry.

Following the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year, the issue of sustainability and how brands and consumers can do more to embrace greener solutions and combat environmental change is front-of-mind for many. With this considered and given that Gen Z are a generation that will continually have to grapple with the effects of climate change in their lifetimes, the demographic is well informed on the subject of sustainability, especially when it comes to fashion.

Sustainability Driving Gen Z Fashion Preferences

A recent UNiDAYS Fashion Report, which explored Gen Z preferences and attitudes towards fashion industry trends, found that sustainable fashion was important to 79% of Gen Z respondents. What is also telling is that just 57% felt that brands championing issues like sustain

A recent Depop survey of 2,000 Gen Z buyers and sellers on the platform also casts light on Gen Z appetite for more sustainable fashion. It found that a whopping 90% of respondents have made changes to become more sustainable in their day-to-day lives, with sustainability in fashion playing a key role in this. Their purchasing patterns are not only influenced by whether fashion items were produced and sold in a way that promotes sustainability, but also that they were made ethically.

Over two thirds (70%) added that they are influenced by commitments to fair wages and safety, and 60% percent want to know a brands commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The findings clearly underscore the need for brands to upweight their focus and investment on sustainability and equality in their operations in order to continue to attract the Gen Z consumer. Naturally, combining this with a clear and attractive pricing strategy will unlock great advantages for fashion brands, helping them to stay ahead of the competition.

The Impact Of Pricing

Alongside a greater focus on sustainability and equality, Gen Z’s media savviness and eye for a bargain is something that needs to be noted by brands. Almost all respondents (95%) of those polled by UNiDAYS said they always kept an eye out for a bargain, whilst 92% regularly use discount codes.
It is important for retailers to factor discounts into their marketing and business strategies ahead of key periods in the retail calendar. To illustrate the opportunity, 2021 UNiDAYS research found that UK Gen Z would splash £395 million on goods during Black Friday and Cyber Week sales.
With this in mind – and considering how lucrative key retail periods such as this are for fashion brands – responding to growing Gen Z demands for sustainability is crucial. It will determine whether they are able to attract and grow affinity with this apex consumer.

Combining focus on sustainable and greener solutions, whilst ensuring that they adopt the right approach to pricing, will not only enable fashion brands to capitalise on key retail holiday periods, it will also drive year-round affinity with Gen Z - a demographic that holds the power to unlock future prosperity for retailers.


UNiDAYS is the world’s leading Student Affinity Network, with a verified global audience of over 20 million student members across 114 countries.

UNiDAYS works with 800 of the world’s biggest brands globally, taking their products and services into the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s professionals, by inspiring Gen Z to discover and connect with the brands and services they need. Its global members have spent more than $5 billion through the UNiDAYS marketplace since 2018.

Through its identity technology, secure brand-safe environment and marketing solutions, UNiDAYS delivers reach and engagement for brand partners, maximising sales and building long-term affinity, at scale and speed across a full range of channels.

The company has over 200 staff, with headquarters in Nottingham, UK, and with offices in London, New York and Sydney.