Jan 28, 2020
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Conscious consumers are cutting back on fast fashion buys says GlobalData

Jan 28, 2020

For retailers trying to sell more and more products every year, increasingly ‘conscious’ consumers are the biggest threat, a new study shows. A survey of 2,000 UK shoppers has shown that nearly a fifth of them are currently planning to spend less than average on retail products.

UK consumers are cutting back on their fast fashion purchases

The study comes from GlobalData, which surveyed the consumers this month and found that 19.2% of them want to spend less. And as well as spending less money, nearly half of them are also making active efforts to buy a smaller number of products.

Sofie Willmott, Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, said that while some shoppers will “struggle to keep up this mindful mentality past January, the shift away from spending on non-essential retail products is set to continue throughout the year as consumers prioritise spend on holidays, activities and meals out, and especially as sustainability concerns seep into their consciences”.

It seems that sustainability is becoming an ever bigger concern for consumers and this is leading them to buy secondhand items and to cut back on the number of new fashion products they buy. This approach helps them in their sustainability efforts and also has a positive impact on their household budgets.

But it's bad news for the fashion retail sector which is struggling against a deluge of problems at the moment. And consumer desires to reduce the volume they buy rather than just to spend less could be a particular problem for fast-fashion retailers that have prospered in recent decades from selling higher volumes at lower prices.

Willmott said warning signs were evident in Primark’s results for the 16 weeks to January 4 with the fashion retail giant reporting a marginal decline in UK like-for-like sales, “indicating that volume growth will be difficult for clothing retailers to achieve in 2020”.

So what should retailers do in these testing times? “In order to thrive, it is vital that retailers provide transparency in their supply chains and although years of building a production process with the main aim of providing fast fashion at accessible prices will be difficult to transform into an environmentally sustainable operation, retailers should clearly convey the steps they are taking,” Willmott said.

She added that a brand’s positive environmental stance “must be communicated through aspects that customers can interact with. For example, & Other Stories offers 10% off a purchase when you bring back an empty beauty container and H&M has garment collection bins in-store which customers can donate a bag of clothes to and receive a £5 voucher to use at H&M when they spend £25 or more”.

She also cited sustainable clothing pioneer Reformation that “has taken it to more of an extreme giving their customers the option to purchase ‘climate credits’ such as a credit for an international flight for £22 which offsets the carbon emissions”.

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