Sustainable Luxury: Youngsters Are Buying From Socially Conscious Brands…

Sustainable Luxury: Youngsters Are Buying From Socially Conscious Brands

The luxury industry often gets criticized for terms like guilty pleasures, disposable income, and excessive consumerism. Yet, our new generation millennials and Generation Z are the ones driving 85% of global luxury sales.

On the other side, our younger generations are even more conscious of the environment and social impact of the purchases they made. This generation is more likely to buy from brands that resonate with their (consumer) personal values. Brands that want to retain their place in the luxury market, need to evolve constantly with the growing trends towards ethical and sustainable luxury.

Nielsen recently made a study in which they found that millennial respondents are willing to spend more on a product if it’s sustainable or socially conscious. It’s far more than older generation estimates. Furthermore, 81% of millennials expect the brands they purchase from to be more transparent in actively talking about sustainable impact.

There’s no doubt to say that this is the age of philanthropic luxury, where we see strong consumer demand for brands and companies to be more socially conscious and sustainable.

1. Luxury brands are moving towards sustainability and socially conscious business models

How can luxury brands reposition themselves? How they can build sustainable luxury a part of their business? The answer is to be authentic. If brands want to retain in the market, they need to genuinely implement environmentally-friendly and sustainable models before they start creating a hype about it.

2. Luxury marketing is building awareness on socially conscious and sustainable impact

With eco-friendly and sustainable luxury practices, luxury brands also have to deliver that message to their audience. This should be done with proper sustainable marketing and a subtle tone to keep their narrative authentic. A good way to pick this approach is to build transparency in your editorial and communication processes, such as BTS and microsites projects.

Super-luxury and high-end mechanical watch brand Rolex has been a precursor in their field with their awards program. With the Rolex Award for Enterprise, the luxury watches brand gives a big amount of cash prize to entrepreneurs aging between 18 and 30 for projects that are bringing more cultural and positive environmental change.

This approach towards socially conscious and sustainable luxury innovation is refreshing, unique, and bright. This really helps in taking the initiative that impacts not only the lives of individuals but the whole planet.

3. Inspiring Millennials and Generation Z to be affluent consumers through transparency with exclusivity

Luxury brands always carry an element of mystique, but time has changed now. In the digital age – everyone is hungry for more information, no one wants to stay behind. Consumers want to make sure that the purchase they make is reflecting their ethics.

Famous fashion brands like Everlane and The People Tree are embracing this by offering their consumers the opportunity to meet the makers and designers of their clothes or offering them digital tours of their factories.

This method not only offers transparency to the consumers but also showcases the fair and ethical practices of the brand. It also shows the fact that these garments, accessories, or any other luxury goods are created by local artisans, which makes them more authentic and unique – which is the true ethos of social luxury.

4. Positive environmental impact and social responsibility: the rise of sustainable luxury

Major luxury brands are already working on their affluent Millennials’ expectations for positive environmental impact and social responsibility. For example, the Kering group, which owns Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Saint Laurent, is increasing their raw materials share that are renewable to improve its sustainability.

“Our ambition is to redefine luxury to help influence and drive these positive changes,” says Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer.


Today, Millennials and Generation Z consumers are making up 30% of all luxury shoppers and they’re expected to be 45% by 2025. Luxury brands need to fasten their work towards sustainability and socially conscious living if they want to remain in the market.


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Anna Wattson


A traveler and a blogger who loves to write about health and wellness.

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