Gen Z consumers put their money where their beliefs are.

By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you think of consumerism as a “channel for change”? Generation Z consumers do, according to Dollars and Change: Young People Tap Brands as Agents of Social Change, a new report from DoSomething Strategic.

But don’t leap to the conclusion these actions are politically motivated. Less than a third of Gen Z’ers surveyed have gone to a political event or protest—or even contacted a government representative.

When it comes to their purchasing behaviors, however, they’re willing to be activists. According to the report:

  • 53% have purchased a brand/product because they wanted to show support for the issues it represented. Another 40% haven’t done this yet, but would consider doing so in the future.
  • 40% have stopped purchasing or boycotted a brand or company because it stood for something or behaved in a way that didn’t align with their values. Another 49% haven’t done this yet, but would consider doing it in the future.
  • 25% say they always/often buy a product or service “based solely on the belief [in] that brand’s values, and [wanting] to support them,” while 67% do this at least some of the time. People of color act even more frequently, with African-Americans buying this way 33% and 76% of the time, respectively.
  • 29% actively seek out brands based on values, as opposed to stumbling upon them, with African-Americans actively seeking out these brands 33% of the time.

Why is this so important to your business? “Gen Z is expected to account for 40% of all consumers by 2020,” Meredith Ferguson, Managing Director of DoSomething Strategic, points out, “[and they’re] expecting brands to use their own platforms for good and to pick up where politicians and politics may have let them down.”

Ferguson adds, “There is a huge opportunity for brands to make young consumers feel part of something bigger through their purchase power. But know [their] BS detectors are finely tuned, so brands that act opportunistically or don’t ‘walk the walk’ will be targeted; and brands that do nothing will be left out or called out.”

Group stock photo by Deborah Kolb/Shutterstock