Around 15% of global fashion consumers are already highly concerned about sustainability and consistently make purchasing decisions to reduce their impact. This percentage could increase to over half of the fashion consumer in the coming years as more buyers gravitate towards sustainable practices.
Recently, a report titled, ‘How Brands Can Embrace the Sustainable Fashion Opportunity’ by Bain & Company and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published which examined consumer behaviors related to sustainability and fashion. To explore this topic, Bain & Company and WWF Italy surveyed approximately 5,900 fashion consumers in China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. About 65 percent said they care about the environment, but only a few regularly prioritize sustainability in their purchases.
The study identified Five types of global fashion consumers, from those who care about sustainability to those who are indifferent to social and environmental issues when shopping, showing differences between consumer attitudes and actual behavior. These are Sustainability Champions, Idealists, Good Citizens, Opportunity Shoppers and Indifference.
According to the study, Sustainability Champions (15%) are most highly concerned about the environment and regularly buy sustainable apparel. Those consumers are willing to pay a very significant premium price (84 percent) to access sustainable products.
10% of idealists have a high level of concern about sustainability, mainly belong to the millennial generation and hardly ever purchase sustainable fashion goods. The 35% indifferent are low concerned about sustainability while 22% opportunity shoppers and 18% good citizens are mid-level concerned.
An estimated 65% of fashion consumers care about the environment, but only a few regularly prioritize sustainability in their purchases. However, there is a gap between fashion consumers’ willingness to act sustainably and their actual behavior.
The report also found out the barriers that consumers face while purchasing sustainably. By removing barriers and accelerating the inevitable shift toward sustainable shopping, fashion brands can capitalize on a larger market opportunity and position themselves as leaders in an important cause.
According to the study, three strategic steps will help fashion brands overcome barriers to purchase, close the attitude-behavior gap, and accelerate sustainable shopping: Fashion brands must address the information gap; engage consumers on product durability and impact, and make sustainable purchases more convenient and appealing.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is one of the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations, with more than 5 million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.