Nov 1, 2022
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More fashion consumers demand sustainability and authenticity when shopping

Nov 1, 2022

Sustainability and authenticity are increasingly important considerations for British shoppers, something that’s crucial for brands and retailers to take on board.

Photo: Pixabay/Public domain

That's according to a new study from Centra, the Swedish ‘headless’ commerce platform for fashion and lifestyle brands.

It spoke to over 2,000 UK shoppers and found that while the product itself rated as the top consideration for half of consumers, “key brand values, including fashion companies’ green credentials and how true the company is to its brand meaning, are emerging as growing consideration factors in consumers’ paths to purchase”. 

Some 29% cite sustainability as a key consideration when shopping for clothing, a figure that rises to 36% of 18-24 year-olds.  

And 25% of UK fashion shoppers claim authenticity impacts their buying decisions with 30% of 25-34 year olds agreeing. 

But what do they mean by authenticity? For consumers, it’s when a brand lives up to what it stands for.

It all means consumer expectations are high, and as many as 65% of shoppers say that “fashion brands need to ‘hard bake’ sustainability into their brand values and 70% say retailers should do more to bring their environmentally-friendly values to life across their sales channels and touchpoints”.  

And this could have a positive impact on the bottom line because 45% of shoppers say they’d buy more from fashion often that call out their green efforts and 58% would buy more frequently from those who commit to protecting the planet. 

Of course, that doesn't mean greenwashing is acceptable and when brands shout about what they're doing, they need to back this up with evidence. As many as 72% of consumers say sustainability claims need to come with meaningful action by a brand before they’d consider switching to a brand or retailer.

And 51% said that if they perceived a retailer to be greenwashing it would give them a negative view of it.  

With recent research showing fashion businesses account for a quarter of all greenwashing complaints, it’s no surprise that the Competition & Markets Authority is cracking down on claims and is already investigating a number of retailers on this front (such as ASOS, Boohoo and Asda).

Consumers expect authenticity to be visible in all areas of a brand or retailer’s offer, including online. As many as 64% want the online experience to live up to the brand’s personality and values, rising to 71% of 18-24 year-olds and 72% of 25-34 year-olds.   

And 42% said that if a retailer’s online shopping experience didn’t embody the brand’s values, it would make them question their purchasing decision, while 39% said it would put their long-term loyalty to a brand in doubt.

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