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Survey: Politics/social issues will influence holiday shopping

BY Marianne Wilson

U.S. consumers are paying closer attention to social issues and politics than ever these days, and it may be changing the way some of them plan to shop for the holidays.

In The NPD Group annual “Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, 52% of consumers said that a manufacturer’s or a retailer’s position on social or environmental issues would impact their holiday buying decisions, up 3% from last year. Among the Generation Z cohort (born after 1997), that number rose to 65%, followed by Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, at 55%.

“In this mid-term election year, political polarization and activism is on the rise in this country, and it’s bleeding into the upcoming holiday season, especially among younger consumers,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group. “While many might disregard the social and environmental views of younger consumers, they do so at their peril,” After all, the oldest Gen Z consumers are just now entering the workforce – and the purchasing power of this generation will increase significantly in the years ahead.”

NPD noted that Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers in 2020.

“Younger generations want – and will pay a premium for — brands that stand for something and those that have corporate social programs that are aligned with their values,” Cohen said.

Political issues are also influencing consumers. Nearly half (47%) of all U.S. consumers indicated that general political issues would play a role in their purchases, three points higher than last year. Nearly half (49%) of Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, reported that a company’s politics would affect their buying decisions, followed by Generation Z at 48%, and Millennials at 47%.

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