Sustainability is Driving Consumers' Purchase Decisions

And that's especially true among younger cohorts

Author: Rahul Chadha

January 16, 2019

The meteoric rise of fast-fashion has brought with it a serious philosophical for consumers: should they consider mass produced goods' impact on labor practices and the environment?

Shoppers are increasingly considering sustainability when making purchases, according to research conducted by CGS in November 2018, which found that 68% of US internet users deemed product sustainability an important factor in making a purchase.

Some retailers are paying attention to consumer demands for a better understanding of issues that once were likely ignored, such as ethical supply chains. For example, the fashion retailer Everlane has incorporated a policy of "radical transparency" into its brand identity by sharing the details of product markups, sourcing practices and manufacturing facilities with shoppers.

Among UK fashion retailers polled by Censuswide on behalf of Klarna in July 2018, 44% of respondents prioritized increased sustainability and ethical standards for their businesses.

The trend toward increased sustainability is especially important among younger cohorts.

CGS's survey revealed that younger shoppers seemed more attuned to the ecological impact of their purchases. The poll found that 68% of those ages 18 to 24 had made an eco-friendly purchase sometime during the preceding year.

The outsourcing services company also found that a slightly higher percentage of shoppers in that age range were willing to pay higher prices for sustainable products when compared with the general public.

CGS claims that transparency around the materials and development of products can increase consumer loyalty. "Today's buyers are driven by more than price—they're looking for brands that align with their own values and needs," said Paul Magel, president of CGS' business applications division.