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Decade of Fashion study shows consumers making more conscious decisions

Lauretta Roberts
03 December 2019

Consumers are making increasingly more conscious decisions about the fashion they buy, according to a new study, Decade of Fashion, from Love The Sales.

Some 2,000 consumers took part in the study with one in five saying they now make more considered purchases today compared to ten years ago.

Consumers are also increasingly turning their backs on fast-fashion and trend-driven product with nearly one in ten (9%) saying they are moving away from fast fashion and just 19% saying that "trendiness" drives their fashion purchase. 13% of consumers say they care more about the ethical side of the fashion industry than they used to.

Professor John Rudd of Warwick Business School said the findings reflected both the budgetary and environmental concerns of today's fashion consumer. “The data shows consumers are making more considered choices than they did ten years ago. This response is probably influenced by budgetary and financial factors, but also considerations about how purchase habits impact the environment.

"Increasingly, but not exclusively, younger consumers are making informed choices about the behaviour and ethics that underpin the organisations from which they buy. They are looking for more authentic organisations that not only talk about global and environmental issues but actively champion and support them.”

Younger consumers are also choosing to buy designer over high street brands. Four times as many 16-29-year-olds (8%) are focusing on buying fewer clothes, but the ones they do buy are designer, compared to just 2% of women over the age of sixty.

“When it comes to fashion in particular, people are more concerned than ever to ensure they purchase good quality, long-lasting, and adaptable clothing that has been sustainably sourced and ethically produced. Consumers are more aware than ever that the choices they make now affect both their future and the future of society as a whole," commented psychologist, Honey Langcaster-James.

"From a psychological point of view, this tells us a lot about what is motivating people today and what influences their decisions. Psychologically, this means that young fashion-conscious individuals are in many ways, more responsible than ever because they are naturally more mindful about what they choose to buy and the decisions they make,” she added.

The research uncovers that sustainability is the third most important purchasing issue for shoppers, preceded by price and quality. One-in-three (36%) state sustainability is a "very important" element when buying clothes, shoes or accessories and almost half (48%) said it is "quite important".

Consumers are also seeking quality to ensure longevity in their garments – more than half (57%) believe quality is "very important" when purchasing clothing. The aspect of least importance is how fashionable the item is.

The research also looks into what technological advances consumers want incorporating into their clothes. 4.7 million Brits (7%) want to see solar panels in their clothing within the next decade. Interestingly, it is men who favour this more. Double the number of males (10%) compared to 5% of females want solar panels in their clothes.

One-in-five (22%) Brits want garments to feature smart climate control. Time-poor consumers are also keen to embrace self-cleaning technology – almost a third (32%) cited self-cleaning clothes as being their technology of choice.

Stuart McClure, Founder of Love The Sales, said it was reassuring to see consumers embracing sustainability: “The fashion industry is increasingly blamed for fuelling environmental issues. Therefore, it is reassuring that 36% of consumers cite sustainability as a very important issue and more shoppers are making considered purchasing choices. Attitudes are changing for the better. On top of that, technology presents a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to help to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry and the associated problems of excess inventory.”

Love The Sales is a leading destination for shopping designer sales online, helping brands and retailers to clear excess stock effectively and discreetly.

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