Retail

Gen Z wants retailers to help workers access abortion: survey

A Retail Brew/Harris Poll survey found that younger consumers are most likely to want brands to take a stand on abortion access—and other topical issues.
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Illustration: Will Varner. Images: Benefit Cosmetics/Experiment World/e.l.f. Cosmetics

· 3 min read

In the wake of last month’s leak of a draft US Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade, some major companies, including Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks, announced they would cover travel expenses for employees seeking abortions.

And while brands can often strive to avoid controversy, a new Retail Brew/Harris Poll survey suggests it might pay to take a stand, especially when it comes to younger consumers.

More than half of Gen Z respondents (52%) said they’d be much or somewhat more likely to shop at a retailer that announced it will provide financial assistance for employees who need to travel out-of-state for abortion, followed by millennials (41%), Gen X (28%) and boomers (25%).

  • Overall, more than one-third (34%) of respondents said they’d be much or somewhat more likely to shop at a store that financially assisted employees with travel for abortion services, with 23% saying they’d be much or somewhat less likely to shop there and 44% saying it would have no impact.
  • And among Gen Z specifically, only 14% said they’d be much or somewhat less likely to shop at a store that provided financial assistance to employees, while 34% said it would have no impact on their shopping behavior.
  • Responses also differed depending on income: 46% of those who earn $100,000+ say they’d be more likely to shop at a store that assisted employees with travel for abortion, compared to 27% of respondentswho earn $50,000–$99,000, and 26% of those who earn <$50,000.

The exclusive Retail Brew/Harris Poll survey was a nationally representative sample of 2,064 US adults, conducted May 20–22.

Shopping for values

Some brands in recent weeks have vowed to make donations or to donate a portion of the proceeds from specific products to organizations that support abortion access, including Harper Wilde, e.l.f. cosmetics, and Parade.

In our poll, the prospect of a brand donating a percentage of sales to support abortion access found the most support among Gen Z, with half (50%) saying they’d be much or somewhat more likely to shop at a retailer that did so, followed by millennials (40%), Gen X (29%) and boomers (26%). As for the prospect of a brand donating a percentage of sales to an organization that supports making abortion illegal, the reaction across generations was largely negative.

  • 44% of Boomers said that would make them much or somewhat less likely to shop there, followed by Gen Z (39%), Gen X (35%) and millennials (32%).
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  • Among millennials, slightly more, 33%, said they’d be much or somewhat more likely to shop at a store that donated to an organization that supports making abortion illegal.

Aside from abortion, when it comes to the general question of whether brands should take a stand, the tide also seems to be shifting along generational lines.

Nearly three out of four, or 73%, of Gen Zers polled somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement “Companies should take a stand on topical issues,” followed by millennials (70%), Gen X (61%) and boomers (42%).

+1: Check out this Morning Brew survey for more about how young professionals think companies should navigate the issue of abortion, and whether companies’ and states’ positions on abortion will have an impact on where they work and live.—AAN

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