Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Consumers Would Buy More Sustainable Clothing, If they Could Find It
The results of this research will probably strike a chord with many consumers, this blogger included. A survey carried out by Ryan Partnership Chicago and Mambo Sprouts Marketing found that consumers would like to buy more sustainable apparel, if only they were given the choice.
The 2012 Styling Sustainability Survey discovered that around 69 percent ticked 'at least sometimes' when asked if they considered sustainability when purchasing clothing in 2011. It also discovered that shoppers would buy twice as much eco-apparel in 2012.
There's one problem, though: consumers have not been able to access sustainable goods, a fact that is hampering the take-up of eco-fashion. A third of respondents said sustainable clothing wasn't available when and where they shopped. One fourth of them said they didn't even know where to purchase sustainable clothing.
The majority informed themselves of the garment's eco-attributes through product tags while 37 per cent asked for information in-store. Another 61 per cent showed interest in apparel sustainability rating or index.
"The data is showing a strong interest in eco/sustainable apparel. This represents a growth opportunity, especially if manufacturers and retailers make it easier to find," said Christine Nardi Diette, group president, Ryan Partnership Chicago.
The first phase of the research consisted of an online survey using MamboTrack panel to better understand 'sustainable' purchase decisions and shopper behavior. MamboTrack is a leading survey research platform of over 50,000 health and wellness consumers willing to share their opinions and insights about natural and organic products as well as sustainable living. For the analysis, the 802 MamboTrack survey respondents were segmented into groups and coded as shades of green according to how important sustainability was to their purchase decisions.
The second phase of the study consisted of a series of structured retailer and manufacturer conversations. Interviewees were selected to represent the full spectrum of business philosophies and practices (e.g., natural/conventional, small/large, etc.) that are key to the study's purpose. The goal was to gather industry insight and perspective to supplement the consumer findings, as well as explore these stakeholders' potentially increasing focus on the "triple bottom line" (people/planet/profit).
One of the big finds is that shoppers search for eco-friendly apparel at mainstream retailers where they shop. Therefore, these products represent an immediate growth opportunity for all apparel retailers, not just niche shops.
"We believe there's a case to be made for more consistent and impactful eco-apparel product labeling and compelling point-of-sale signage. A 'store-within-a-store' concept for this category could significantly increase shopper perception of availability as well, eliminating a major barrier to purchase," Diette added.
Eco-shoppers are demanding, though. The report revealed they are not willing to trade fit or durability and rank a number of "sustainable" factors at the same level of importance in their purchase decision, such as "fun" and "fashionable." Technology has made it possible to offer all these options simultaneously; therefore, green fashionistas can have their whole wheat cake and eat it, too. But first, the market needs to start catering for them.
Image credit: One Green Score