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Millennial Shopping Habits Show They Spend More With Eco-Friendly Brands

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May. 28 2019, Updated 5:34 p.m. ET

It's not surprising that sustainability is becoming a huge component of people's shopping choices—or at least the perception of sustainability, according to a post on Fast Company. Marketing company The Shelton Group, run by Suzanne Shelton, share their findings about the way millennials in America currently shop. Basically, they wouldn't be caught dead buying from brands that are considered bad for the planet.

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There has lately been enormous growth in many company's product development when it comes to "green living." Fast food chains are going meatless, beauty companies are launching eco-minded options, and candy companies are trying to eliminate damaging processes in their product line. The Shelton Group has been regularly polling Americans for the last 12 years, and charting how these changes have come about.

They've discovered that it is mostly millennials driving the push for companies to go green, but only if they "trust a company’s social and environmental practices." The top three most trusted companies were Patagonia, Whole Foods, and Tesla.

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In fact, 90 percent of millennials will shop with any company they perceive as making moves towards a "social purpose," even if they don't historically have that reputation. The following four most trusted brands are The Honest Company, Amazon, Apple, and Walmart. The latter three certainly didn't start their business on the basis of sustaining the Earth, but their sheer scale is seen as a benefit. When Walmart openly commits to making sustainability a priority, it signals that this isn't a consumer fad that will just go away.

Of course, that's not the same thing as actually making a difference with your brand.

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But the fact that sustainability and consideration for the Earth is so important to consumers, especially the young ones, means companies who haven't fallen in line will be left behind. Data company Accenture recently reported that millennials spend $600 billion every year, and that number is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020. If companies cultivate these customers, they'll have to follow through on their promises. Sustainability is not on the fringes anymore.

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