Sustainable brands have a way to go to connect with customers

Sustainable fashion brands are gaining market share, but considered designer alternatives are still not fully tapping into the eco conscious consumer. While there is an increase in shoppers looking for sustainable and considered fashion, there is a clear need to educate shoppers to make the connection, reports the NPD Group.

Educating and informing consumers regarding sustainable fashion and sustainability were among the topics raised at a recently held panel discussion hosted by NPD and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. The panel noted the definition of sustainability is often in the eye of the shopper, but it is key for consumers to know that the fashion industry’s overall goal is to create a supply chain that is environmentally and socially conscious of its impact.

Millennials more likely to spend more on sustainable goods

When NPD asked consumers what their top social concern is in terms of clothing production, 29 percent said human rights and fair wages. Human rights ranked significantly higher than consumers’ concerns about toxic dyes and chemicals, animal welfare, minimizing waste, and global warming. One-third of consumers say a brand’s social responsibility and social position are extremely important to their purchase decision.

Although consumers aren’t always aware if an apparel item is sustainable in terms of the label’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility, if they were aware almost one-third of consumers say they would be willing to pay more for a sustainable apparel item.

Young adult consumers, ages 18 to 34, are most inclined to spend more on sustainable apparel, and 33 percent of women say they would pay more for clothing that was described as sustainable, eco-friendly, organic, or ethical than for clothing that was not. On the other hand, the majority of consumers (two-thirds) were not willing to pay more for sustainability indicating they are looking for it to be a part of a brand’s social responsibility.

“Sustainability will continue to be an important topic for consumers and the industry in the years to come,” Marshal Cohen, NPD chief industry adviser said at the panel discussion. “To attract consumers, particularly young adults and women, apparel brands and retailers will need to stay in touch with social responsibility issues, and educate and inform their customers with clear messaging and labeling about their sustainability efforts. Brands can’t rely on the fine print on the inside label, it needs to be woven into the ‘fabric’ of the brand.”

The NPD Group provides data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to over 2,000 global businesses to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels.

Photo credit: Patagonia, Worn Wear, source Patagonia website





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