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The Black Friday disillusion: despite spending more, Gen Zs want brands to go green

Sustainability grafitti

As Black Friday 2021 draws to a close, we take stock of how Gen Zs interacted with the biggest shopping event of the year. 

Gen Zs were the biggest spenders…

We already know that Gen Z students have significant spending power – $303 billion per year, to be precise. But just how much of that are they willing to part with once Black Friday rolls around?

Our latest research shows that the youngest consumers are spending the most money on Black Friday – the average Gen Z spent $444.38 over the Black Friday weekend. That’s more than Gen X, who spent $423.42 on average, and significantly more than boomers, who racked up $360.53. 

It’s clear that Gen Z still has an appetite for Black Friday sales – but brands will need to make some adjustments to how they go about Black Friday in future if they want to keep Gen Zs onside. 

As digital natives, they’re overwhelmed 

Black Friday hasn’t always been a digital-first event – but that’s certainly how Gen Zs have experienced it in recent years. 95% shop online in some capacity and for ⅓ of US Gen Zs, Black Friday is fully online. 

Gen Zs also discover Black Friday deals online, with 63% seeking deals on social media and 58% heading to your brand’s website. But the onslaught of digital deals isn’t always the best user experience. 53% of Gen Zs say that they feel stressed out by traditional Black Friday marketing tactics, compared to 40% of Gen X and 28% of Boomers. 

Ultimately, green is the new black 

It’s not just the marketing tactics that Gen Zs want to change. Student Beans research shows that younger consumers are a third more likely to purchase from brands that advertise more sustainable incentives for purchase, such as charitable donations or offsetting impact. Many are calling for Black Friday to evolve into a more conscious, sustainable event – something we’ve seen across verticals this year. 

Key changemakers included Swyft sofas – which took advantage of Black Friday to introduce a carbon offsetting scheme – and ethical marketplace Made Trade – which gave customers a choice between gifting 10% of their order to planting orchards, or receiving 10% off their order. 

Ready to plan your strategy for 2022? Student Beans’ 12 Days of Insights is in full swing. Time to get on board. 

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