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61 percent of fashion shoppers prioritise cost over sustainability

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Unsplash

In the age of inflation and rising living costs, it is little wonder that consumers are prioritising prices over sustainability.

New research of just over 2,000 US and UK consumers from Nosto, a commerce experience Platform, shows 61 percent of fashion shoppers put price above sustainability, even as 57 percent of consumers want fashion to be more sustainable, just over half say it is too expenensive.

Nosto says the data provides insights that online retailers can use to reduce their environmental impact while remaining in tune with consumers who are feeling the pinch from the cost-of-living crisis.

Shoppers willing to wait longer for green deliveries

Ecommerce delivery windows have tended to get shorter in recent years (with next day and same day delivery options becoming popular). But 54 percent of Nosto’s survey respondents would consider slower deliveries for fashion purchases if it allowed companies to cut the number of truck/van journeys (reducing carbon emissions while also cutting retailers’ delivery costs).

Repair services are in demand

58 percent of respondents indicate that they now try to keep clothes for longer to protect the environment, and 60 percent agree that one way fashion ecommerce brands could be more sustainable is to offer repair services. 42 percent said they have thrown away fashion items they would have liked to keep because they could not get them repaired.

Reduce returns without charges

49 percent of respondents agreed that product returns are bad for the environment on the basis that they waste fuel, packaging and other resources. But charging shoppers for returns (as many fashion brands are now doing) was rated the least popular way to address the problem according to the survey.

Alternative tactics that consumers agreed would help were: make it easy for shoppers to query items online such as through live chats (64 percent); display user-generated content (UGC) images and videos of other customers wearing their purchases to show what they look like on real people (61 percent); and offer virtual try-on tools to help shoppers visualize how they would look in outfits (59 percent).

Despite the pressure on people’s wallets, there remains a sizeable chunk (39 percent of survey respondents) who say they would in fact consider paying more for sustainably made versions of the same clothes. However, a lack of transparency surrounding sustainable fashion and mistrust about what brands say about it remain major stumbling blocks.

55 percent of consumers in the poll had difficulty differentiating sustainable fashion items from non-sustainable fashion items.

“The sustainability of the fashion industry is critical to our planet’s health, so it’s refreshing to see evidence that shoppers are willing to change their behavior and play their part alongside retailers. Though it’s unsurprising that the current economic situation is causing consumers to rethink their priorities and put price ahead of sustainability,” says Guy Little, Head of Brand Marketing at Nosto.”

“But this research gives promising suggestions on how brands can help consumers embrace sustainability within fashion. Encouraging slower deliveries and reducing product returns are both opportunities to be more environmentally friendly without requiring customers to spend more.”

Sustainable Fashion