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Top five ways consumers want brands to be more sustainable

By Huw Hughes


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New research suggests that over half (52 percent) of consumers in the UK and US want the fashion industry to become more sustainable, but 45 percent find it difficult to know which fashion brands are really committed to sustainability.

According to a survey of 2,000 consumers commissioned by e-commerce personalisation and retail AI platform Nosto, only 29 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to pay more for sustainably-made versions of the same items, while only 23 percent said they generally have a good idea of what fashion brands mean when they say they are committed to sustainability.

So what are consumers looking for exactly in fashion companies? These are the five areas that consumers consider most important for fashion companies to address in order to be more sustainable, according to Nosto’s survey.

  • 1. Reducing the amount of packaging (75 percent of consumers)
  • 2. Providing fair pay and good working conditions (74 percent)
  • 3. Using renewable and recyclable materials (73 percent)
  • 4. Making clothes that are designed to last longer (71 percent)
  • 5. Using fewer resources e.g. power/water/materials (64 percent)

How retailers can encourage shoppers to buy sustainable brands

And what about online? What can retailers do to encourage shoppers to buy clothes that are more sustainable when online shopping? According to those in favour of greater sustainability, these were the top five answers:

  • 1. Clearly label clothes that are made in sustainable ways (74 percent)
  • 2. Offer discounts on clothing ranges that are more sustainable (62 percent)
  • 3. Do more to advertise and promote clothing that is made in sustainable ways (62 percent)
  • 4. Allow online shoppers to trade-in their used clothes for discounts on new items (54 percent)
  • 5. Automatically show people more sustainable alternatives to the items they are viewing online (43 percent)

Interestingly, the figures show the call for more sustainability in fashion is broadly similar different generations, though slightly higher in 18-24 year olds (Generation Z), with 56 percent wanting the fashion industry to be more sustainable. Additionally, 51 percent of 25-34 year olds (Millennials), 55 percent of 35-44 year olds, 47 percent of 45-54 year olds and 50 percent of those over 64 called for better sustainability.

Commenting on the findings in a statement, Jim Lofgren, Nosto’s CEO, said: “Of those that want a more sustainable fashion industry, 57 percent say they try to keep clothes for longer because it’s better for the environment – among women this rises to 60 percent, while it’s 52 percent for men. These numbers underline the strength of feeling on the issue.

“Although brands are aware that consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability in the fashion industry, they need to be more transparent and get better at communicating how they’re addressing it. For example, only 23 percent of consumers we questioned agreed that they generally have a good idea what fashion brands mean when they say they are committed to sustainability.”

For its research, Nosto surveyed 2,000 consumers, of which half were from the UK and half from the US.

Photo credit: Mentatdgt, Pexels

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