Shifting Generations

Redwood Comment
Published:  12 August, 2020
Dr Mike Redwood
Gen Z are now 22 years old, having been born from 1996 on – so think of quite a few of the world’s top soccer players.

That gap between Gen Z and the Millennials is considerable but both are demonstrating heightened opinions on sustainability. The attitude of Millennials has strengthened considerably over the last three years as their concern over the implications of climate change has grown. Generation Z from the start has had even stronger views, and this has for some time been showing in their purchasing.

Ending three decades of slumber

For leather this can be a positive as our material fits all the criteria of a sustainable product, but we have many weaknesses, not least those areas in the world where environmental and labour rules are flouted. The biggest problem, though, has been the long silence of the last three decades; a slumber out of which we are only emerging now with the situation well advanced. It will be difficult to stop society taking damaging long-term decisions based on erroneous data, so we must engage quickly and strongly.

Increasingly brand loyalty and associated habitual purchasing has slipped away for younger buyers, so that companies have to fight for each and every purchase. If the consumer discovers any element which is not authentic (in your channel, in your wider network) that they perceive is within the brand’s sphere of influence, their rejection will be immediate.

Gen Z is a true omnichannel shopper, not merely one who has lately discovered the on-line facilities and abandoned the physical. They are still attracted to well-designed stores enjoying the experience with the social elements available in non-pandemic times, but whether they buy there, online via Instagram or a website is less predictable. That is what omnichannel is.  We need to work on Gen Z and ensure such visits give them the opportunity to experience all the hidden strengths of leather that are so hard to demonstrate online.

Although still young they are increasingly influential in many ways. We need them to recognise the truth about leather and to become the new ambassadors for leather.

Dr Mike Redwood

August 11, 2020

Follow Dr Mike Redwood on twitter: @michaelredwood

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