Baby Boomers more likely to shop with companies that cut out plastics, Accenture study finds


The “Baby Boomer” generation, those aged 55-74, are more likely to shop with companies that actively remove plastics from products, according to new research from Accenture Strategy.

The annual Global Consumer Pulse Research surveyed more than 2,000 UK consumers about their expectations of brands and companies today. It found that companies that stand for something bigger than what they sell, communicate their purpose and demonstrate commitment, are more likely to see consumers spend with them.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Gen Z and Millennials (aged 18-29) say they want companies to take a stand on issues close to their hearts, such as poverty, immigration and social mobility. Furthermore, 62% also closely consider a company’s ethical values and authenticity before buying their products.

Baby Boomers leading the plastics revolution

A year on from Blue Planet 2, companies are under growing pressure to reduce their use of plastic, from excess packaging to cups and straws. However, the study challenges the view that young people have been the driving force behind the ‘plastics revolution’. In fact, 66% of Baby Boomers are more attracted to companies that reduce plastics, compared to 60% of Gen Z and Millennials.

Rachel Barton, managing director at Accenture Strategy, said: “When it comes to social conscience, every age group has its cause and it’s not always younger consumers driving change. Baby Boomers are setting their own terms by putting pressure on companies to become more environmentally and socially conscious. Concern about the state of the planet for future generations could be a driver, as well as having the means to be selective about where they shop.”

Gen Z and Millennials ditching companies that don’t take a stand 

The study reveals that 68% of Gen Z and Millennials prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a bigger purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs, and half are likely to boycott brands that don’t. Nearly three-quarters (74%) say their purchasing decisions are influenced by the words, values and actions of a company’s leaders. Another 59% want business leaders to speak up on issues they care about.

Younger people are also very aware of their power to influence corporate behaviour; 7 in 10 (71%) believe that refusing to buy from brands or criticising them on social media can make a difference in how companies act.

Barton, continued: “Consumers have the power to bring about success or failure to companies. They are more than buyers – they are active stakeholders and want to feel a sense of shared purpose. These findings should be a powerful wake-up call for all brands to become purpose-led organisations. Only then can they build deeper consumer connections and improve competitiveness.”