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65% of Gen Z shoppers say improved sizing information would cut returns and carbon ‘cost’

Tom Bottomley
05 June 2023

Identifying cutting down returns as a key way to reduce unnecessary carbon emissions, 65% of Gen Z shoppers say improved sizing information – or personalised fit recommendations – would help them return less.

New research of 1,000 UK Gen Z shoppers by True Fit, the leading AI platform that decodes size and fit for apparel and footwear retailers, also shows that over a fifth (21%) would send less back if it they were made aware of the carbon emissions associated with an online return.

A recent British Fashion Council report warned that 23 million returned garments were sent to landfill or incinerated last year in the UK, generating 750,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions, and the impact of returns on consumers’ sustainability aspirations has also been called into question.

However, with sustainability continuing to dominate the buying decisions of Gen Z fashion shoppers, a third (33%) want retailers to make it easier for them to return less so their carbon footprint is smaller, while a quarter (25%) said brands should show the CO2 ‘price’ for each item, alongside the actual cost of the piece of clothing, to help inform their buying decisions.

Jessica Arredondo Murphy, Co-Founder & COO at True Fit, commented: “Two important things we have all learned about returns in the last five years – they are not going to go away, and there is no single magic bullet that will solve them.  That being said, it is worth starting with the imperatives for action.

“While once this was mostly about protecting profit margins, now we are talking about the very real need to address returns for the sake of a sustainable future for fashion in the context of its environmental footprint and the growth of ecommerce.

“Looking more deeply into who returns, and why, provides retailers and brands with the ammunition they need for change – and with size and fit remaining the top drivers for fashion returns and size sampling behaviours, building guidance into the buying journey is a critical step to reducing unnecessary returns while improving the shopper experience.”

With the ethical fashion market tipped to reach $10billion by 2026, 67% of the Gen Z shoppers surveyed said they would consider swapping fast fashion for slow in the future, to be more environmentally conscious in their buying choices.

Additionally, almost two thirds (62%) of Gen Z shoppers felt retailers could help them shop more sustainably by not offering fast fashion altogether, or by moving towards offering slow fashion collections, featuring more sustainably manufactured garments that are made to last.

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