Price and limited selection main barriers to 'green' fashion buys, says survey


By AGENCY

Consumers are ready to make their wardrobes greener, but there are still a number of obstacles preventing them from taking real action. Photo: AFP

Consumers in many countries around the world are increasingly interested in ethical, eco-friendly fashion.

However, they also face a number of barriers when moving from theory to practice, including price and a market offer deemed too limited, a new study reveals.

It's now generally acknowledged that the pandemic acted as a catalyst for environmental awareness, with the first changes in behaviour observed as brands and consumers left the confines of their homes.

But have these new habits managed to take root in people's daily lives?

Shoppers seem keen to commit to sustainable consumption, but recent research from YouGov highlights the barriers preventing them from taking action.

The fashion sector, often singled out for its environmental impact, is no exception. Consumers would like to make their wardrobes greener, but face many obstacles, starting with prices they consider excessive.

Read more: At Copenhagen Fashion Week, it is the young guard that presents a 'green' future

Yes to sustainability but...

Carried out among more than 12,000 adults in the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy, the survey shows that sustainability is now a criterion that's being taken into account by consumers.

More than half of those surveyed (55%) even say it is an important notion in fashion.

This figure rises to 56% in France, 57% in the USA, and 59% in Italy. By contrast, only 48% of Germans consider sustainability important in this sector.

Still, important though it is, it's not the first thing that consumers look when making a purchase.

Price remains the main purchasing criterion, particularly for the shoppers in France (81%) and the UK (82%), ahead of fabrics and fit – which is the criterion that comes first for Italians and Americans.

Environmental issues come in at a much lower level, important to just under three in ten clothing shoppers.

Manufacturing conditions, sustainability and the manufacturing location are considered important criteria for 30% of French respondents, 28% of American respondents, 27% of British and Italian respondents, and 25% of German respondents.

Read more: 'Human dimension': Tunisian fashion brand turns sea plastic into 'green' couture

... but not at any cost

The study clearly shows that, while consumers in these countries say they are in favour of sustainable fashion, they are still struggling to put these principles into practice.

And here again, price is no stranger to the equation. More than half of French consumers (56%) don't buy eco-responsible clothing because the price is too high, compared with only 37% of Americans.

Meanwhile, 30% of Italian shoppers point to the difficulty of finding sustainable brands, and 32% of Italian and British consumers cite a lack of clarity as to which ecological criteria are actually respected.

As a result, consumers are turning to other means to get fashion items they consider more respectful of the planet.

Over a third of French people (34%), for example, claim to have reduced their clothing purchases for environmental reasons.

Among all respondents, 36% say they buy fewer but better quality fashion items, and 28% say that they buy second-hand clothes.

Interestingly, among those who order clothes online, an overwhelming majority (over 80% in all countries except the US) say they are willing to accept longer shipping times to be more sustainable.

On the other hand, they are less inclined to pay more for more sustainable shipment (between 24% and 38% depending on the country).

Last but not least, more than four in ten consumers (45%) say they have changed the length of time they own their clothes since the start of the pandemic.

Italian (40%) and French (35%) respondents say they are keeping their clothes longer, compared with only 25% of British shoppers polled.

Note that 16% of US consumers say they keep their clothes for between six months and a year, and that 7% get rid of them even before six months. – AFP relaxnews

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