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Copyright: Retraced

New Study points to more sustainable fashion consumers in 2021

2020 was a year full of uncertainty and significant changes, especially in the fashion industry. According to a new survey published by Wovn, and reported on by the Sourcing Journal, fashion consumers plan to: shop less overall, shop online more, and shop with a great purpose in mind - Sustainability.

The survey of consumers across the EU, the US, and the UK showed that general clothing shopping was down by 25%, while eCommerce spending for shopping rose by 23%. Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 were the most active with online spending - however, it remains to be seen how this will adjust if and when retail stores open back up. There is a possibility that the changes in behavior may be here to stay, and are trending towards more sustainable, impact driving buying behavior. 89% of the survey respondents said that they plan to keep up with their new shopping behaviors. The interesting part? These behaviors include "buying less" and "shopping more sustainably" (39% and 19% respectively).

Check out some more key facts and figures from the report below -

Changes in clothing needs and tastes:

  • Trends show that there is a limited demand for certain apparel categories. With country lockdown measures in place, coupled with the increase of people "working-from-home" as the likely causes, it's no surprise that the largest consumption decreases were in party wear (-64%), workwear (-55%), and shoes + accessories (-27%).
  • Comfort is on the rise. The loungewear category saw a favorable increase (+13%).

Sustainability in Focus:

  • Large consumer "commitment" towards the impact of their purchasing: 63% of survey takers said that they "care more about sustainability" and 69% said that they are "trying to buy less fast fashion".
  • A large majority of consumers - 86 % - indicated that they expect brands to cast more of a focus on "ethical labor practices and/or sustainability"
  • Probably the most interesting stat of the survey: "84 percent of respondents were willing to pay more for clothing from a sustainable brand" - indicating that there exists an increasingly strong business case for brands to move towards more socially responsible practices.

The story is far from complete. Nevertheless, the report shares a useful indication of what post-pandemic survival could look like for fashion brands. While ramifications of COVID-19 on the industry are still unfolding, a significant consumer-led shift towards sustainable fashion is becoming more clear and more relevant. The future of fashion, thanks to concerned consumers who are concerned about transparency, is becoming more digital and more sustainable.

bar graph showing that consumers want brands to focus more on sustainability and ethical labor practices.

More focus on sustainability wanted - Graphic from WOVN Consumer report 2021

(Find the report here)

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