Sustainable fashion and connected products: the pairing that consumers desire
The era of ‘green’ storytelling is over: Consumers are searching for concrete actions and brands that help them to take them.
Our latest Certilogo consumer survey reveals that consumers expect experiences and services that will actively help them contribute to a more sustainable relationship with fashion. Throw-away culture is falling out of fashion, as consumers look to extend the useful life of their products.
Last month we surveyed over 1.000 consumers who used Certilogo to authenticate their products, regarding their attitudes towards the sustainability of their fashion purchases. Their responses underline some significant shifts in consumer behaviour that reaffirm the pivotal role connected products will play as the fashion industry works to reduce its environmental footprint.
- The sustainability of a product influences purchase decisions, and the demand for transparency comes from the consumer as well as the regulators.
- More than 7 in 10 consumers consider the sustainability of their purchases to be important or very important.
- Only 1 in 10 remain unconcerned about a product's environmental impact.
- Millennials are most interested in their purchases being eco-friendly, with 3 in 4 saying they care greatly, compared with 6 in 10 from Gen. Z.
- 93% of consumers find products that offer sustainable services useful, with 1 in 5 finding green certifications as being most useful.
- New regulations as part of the EU Sustainable and Circular Textiles Directive are expected to oblige all fashion brands to equip all of their products with a digital ID and Digital Product Passport able to inform consumers of the impact of their purchase.
- Throw-away fashion culture is falling out of fashion as consumers aspire to become more responsible shoppers and are highly interested in recouping the maximum value of their outlay.
- More than 70% expect to recover value from the product in some form or another, with reselling being the most popular method, as expressed by 35,6% of consumers.
- Gen. Z consumers are most likely to resell their fashion purchases, with 4 in 10 intending to do so, compared with 3 in 10 Millennials.
- Generation Z are twice as likely than Millennials to choose to resell their product rather than swap it or donate it.
- 19,1% of consumers say they will swap the product for a similarly valued article.
- 16,3% declare they will return the product to the brand for recycling, in exchange for a reward of some kind.
- Knowing that a product is authentic and legitimate is fundamental to the consumer. Product authentication is considered the most useful sustainability feature of connected products.
- 70% of consumers regard product authentication as being the most important ‘green’ service.
- Only a certified genuine product can be trusted to make green claims and an unlawfully manufactured counterfeit product’s environmental footprint is unsustainable by definition.
These new consumer behaviours can be leveraged by brands to create a more sustainable relationship with fashion.
Services that extend product life can contribute to reducing overconsumption.
Desired by more than 40% of consumers, care and repair services help products last longer and retain more value for later resale, extending the product life further still. Care, repair and re-commerce are estimated to lengthen the useful life of a product by between x 1.3 - 1.7, and offset the unnecessary production of a new product.
Authentication services can help reduce the growing incidence of fakes and consequently the damage they cause to the brand, consumer and environment.
The rate with which Certilogo is called on to provide help and assistance to consumers who authenticate fake products has increased threefold. Today 3 in 10 authentications are fakes, up from 1 in 10 in 2015. The risk is greatest online, with 8 in 10 counterfeits being purchased via eCommerce. Only a certified genuine product can be trusted to make green claims and an unlawfully manufactured counterfeit product’s environmental footprint is unsustainable by definition, as it should not exist in the first place.
Services that empower circularity can help reduce raw materials and waste.
Making it easy to return products for recycling will increase closed-loop circularity and reduce damaging waste and the need for new raw materials. The textile industry currently recycles only 1% of waste back into the production process of new clothing. To align with the 1.5-degree pathway, by 2030 we need to live in a world in which one in five garments are regenerated as new fashion products.
Brands that go above and beyond “green storytelling”, and rethink their "shopping experience", enriching it with tangible services that empower the consumer to contribute to reducing the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry, will maximise their sustainability and be rewarded by the consumer.
Brands that take advantage of the upcoming obligation to provide their products with digital passports and turn their products into digital assets can accelerate their sustainability journey. By establishing mutually beneficial relationships with their consumers that incentivise ‘circular’ sustainable behaviour as a consequence of more convenient and rewarding experiences and enabling the brand to remain an active protagonist and monetise the product throughout its entire life.
A product's value will be judged by its ability to authenticate, engage, connect, and recover maximum value. Brands that connect their products will endow them with greater value, while those that fail to make genuine steps to become more sustainable, and are unable to engage directly with their consumers through their products, will risk punishment from both the market and impending EU and US regulations.