65% of shoppers say fashion brands need to ‘hard bake’ sustainability into their brand values

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This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: 65% of shoppers say fashion brands need to ‘hard bake’ sustainability into their brand values.

UK consumers are increasingly rating sustainability and brand authenticity as key consideration factors in their fashion buying decisions, the latest research from Centra, the headless commerce platform for fashion and lifestyle brands, reveals.

Original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers in Centra’s latest report How your brand can capture its full potential globally showed that while the product itself rated was the top consideration for 50% 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.

Almost a third (29%) said sustainability was a key consideration when shopping apparel, saying that to win their custom a brand needed to care about the planet as well as profit, rising to 36% of 18-24 year-olds.  Meanwhile, a further quarter (25%) of UK fashion shoppers said that authenticity, where the brand lives up to what it stands for, would also impact their buying decision, rising to 30% of 25-34 year-olds.  

Two thirds (65%) of shoppers say 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.  With eco-fashion demands growing, 45% of shoppers say they would buy more from fashion brands who shout about their green efforts and a further 58% said they would buy more frequently from those retailers who commit to protecting the planet.  

However 72% say sustainability claims must be backed up by meaningful action by a brand before they would consider changing their buying behaviours or switching their loyalty to a retailer, and 51% said that if they perceived a retailer to be ‘greenwashing’ it would give them a negative view of the brand.  And while the CMA is already cracking down on greenwashing amongst fashion retailers, with ASOS, Boohoo and ASDA the latest brands being investigated by the regulator, recent research showed fashion businesses account for a quarter of all greenwashing complaints. 

When it comes to authenticity, two thirds (64%) of shoppers now want the online experience to live up to the brand’s personality and values, which proved particularly important to younger consumers demographics of consumers, rising to 71% of 18-24 year-olds and 72% of 25-34 year-olds respectively.   Over two fifths (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. 

Martin Jensen, CEO and Co-Founder of Centra, commented: “Fashion shoppers now quite literally wear their hearts – and their values – on their sleeves, and they are conspicuously consuming those brands whom mirror and shout about their own values and beliefs.   So, when it comes to fashion, that means online experiences need to be at least as amazing as the products themselves and the brand storytelling needs to be consistent and authentic across each and every touchpoint.  That way the retail can remain relevant and true to the core values of its own brand as well as those of its customer-base to drive sales and long-term customer lifetime value.”

Original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers, conducted by Savanta on behalf of Centra, July 2022.

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