In brief

In brief

  • Generations Y and Z now outnumber all other generations globally. A meaningful consumer value shift is in the making.
  • Our 2019 Global Consumer Pulse Research reveals Gens Y and Z demand proof of purpose and will use their influence and spending power to prove it.
  • CEOs need to create tangible fidelity around their purpose by applying a purpose-led innovation mindset to every aspect of the way they do business.
  • Companies will either stand to lose, gain, or retain a piece of the US$5 trillion global switching pie.

4.8 billion reasons to get purpose right

Consumers’ expectations around experience continue to be at an all-time high. But those have become table stakes. As we found in our watershed 2018 report, From me to we: The rise of the purpose-led brand, a company’s purpose, or lack of one, is an important driver of consumer behavior—and revenue. Purpose, which influences many consumers’ decisions to switch or keep spending with current brands, puts an estimated US$5 trillion of revenue at play globally. That's an opportunity—and risk—too great for companies to ignore.

Accenture Strategy’s 2019 Global Consumer Pulse Research revealed that certain consumer segments are more influenced by purpose than others. Namely, Generations Y and Z. These consumers value purpose—and the fidelity with which that purpose is conveyed—more than all other generations. Generations Y and Z have ascended to Generation P(urpose).

The perceptions and values of Gens Y and Z will dominate for decades to come. They expect proof of a company's purpose and will use their out-scaled influence and spending power to prove it. See demographic insights from consumers in countries where you do business below.
Perception 1
Perception 2
Perception 3
Perception 4
Consumers who say they trust companies much less today than they did two years ago
age 18-39
age 40+
Base = 25,308 global consumers

Live out loud with fidelity of purpose

Companies need to step up their purpose game. Simply having purpose isn’t enough for Gens Y and Z. They demand that companies infuse purpose across their organizations, via all touch points, and through their words, actions, products, services and ways of doing business, inside and out.

Gen Y and Z consumers are more sensitive to how companies show fidelity of purpose than other consumers. And they are more likely to reward those that get it right: A third of them will pay more to companies that stand for issues they care about (versus just 18 percent of other generations). They are also more likely to punish those that get it wrong: More than half have shifted a portion of their spend away from companies that disappointed them with their words or actions on a social issue (versus 37 percent of other consumers).

Companies must look at purpose holistically and build fidelity, authentically and in multiple ways.

Fidelity matters

Gen Y and Z consumers find companies that exhibit fidelity of purpose more relevant and attractive than all other generations.

63% vs 58%

are attracted to companies that source services and materials in highly ethical ways

57% vs 45%

are attracted to companies that support and act on societal and cultural causes

53% vs 46%

are attracted to companies that provide credible “green” credentials, minimize environmental harm and invest in sustainability

49% vs 41%

are attracted to companies that proactively share information on how they do business

View All

Innovate for purpose, with purpose

One of the most important ways companies can prove their authenticity is through purpose-led innovation. More than half of Gen Y and Z consumers are attracted to brands that translate their values into new and innovative products and services. That means every new product or service innovation should be firmly rooted in purpose. Every existing brand should be adjusted, if possible, to align to purpose.

But innovation can be applied in other ways, too. How a company treats its employees. How it sources its raw materials. How it communicates its values and beliefs. How it creates employee experiences that connect consumers around common causes. The opportunities to demonstrate fidelity of purpose extend far beyond products and services. They can all be made real with purpose-led innovation.

Be purposeful

The influence and spending power of Generation P is undeniable. Our research suggests that exhibiting fidelity of purpose holistically is a surefire way to attract Gen Y and Z advocates for the long run. Winning companies bring clarity to what they value. They stand up for what they believe in. And they apply purpose-led innovation to all parts of their organizations. In so doing, they attract consumers not just by the strength of their brands, but by the strength of their convictions.

Rachel Barton

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy Lead, Europe

Jürgen Morath

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy

Kevin Quiring

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Customer Sales & Service Strategy Global Lead

Bill Theofilou

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CEO & Enterprise Strategy Global Lead


UNGC—Accenture Strategy CEO study on sustainability
Trends 2021
From me to we: The rise of the purpose-led brand

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