Educate consumers for sustainable shopping: NPD

08 Oct '18
3 min read

Even as consumer interest in sustainability grows, so do the efforts by apparel industry, but there is a clear need to educate shoppers in order to make this connection, says a report. However, a rising number of environment-conscious consumers are looking for sustainable apparel and a quarter of US adult consumers said they purchase sustainable apparel.

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 said they would be willing to pay more for a sustainable apparel item, stated a report by American market research company, The NPD Group.

At a recent panel discussion hosted by NPD and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), educating and informing consumers regarding sustainable fashion and sustainability were among the topics discussed. The panelists at the event pointed out that the definition of sustainability is often in the eye of the beholder, but it’s important 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.

Young adult consumers, aged 18 years to 34 years, are most inclined to spend more on sustainable apparel, and 33 per cent of women admitted they would pay more for clothing that was described as sustainable, eco-friendly, organic, or ethical than for clothing that was not, the report revealed. On the other hand, a 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

When NPD asked consumers what their top social concern is in terms of clothing production, 29 per cent 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 said a brand’s social responsibility and social position are extremely important to their purchase decision.

"Sustainability will continue to be an important topic for consumers and the industry in the years to come. 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," said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry advisor. (RR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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