Exploring the level of sustainability awareness among consumers within the fast-fashion clothing industry: a dual business and consumer perspective

Maria Papadopoulou, Ioanna Papasolomou, Alkis Thrassou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Adding to competitive dynamics and sustainability literature, this paper aims to examine the implementation of environmental protection and sustainability initiatives within the European fast-fashion clothing industry from the perspectives of Generation X and Y consumers. The study primarily investigates whether consumers’ level of environmental consciousness impacts their purchase decisions and consumption behaviour and the consequent strategic competitiveness effects on businesses. Design/methodology/approach: The methodological approach relied on multiple data collection methods. In the first stage of the study, the researchers analysed the content of the official websites of two of Europe’s leading fashion firms. In the second stage, a quantitative research approach was aimed at revealing the perceptions, attitudes and purchase behaviour of Generation X and Y consumers towards the two fashion houses and their brands. Findings: Although European fashion manufacturers invest in sustainability and engage in environmental protection, their marketing efforts need to be more effectively managed and targeted towards their target consumer markets. The level of engagement and sensitivity of each generational group towards sustainability issues varies. Each group’s environmental consciousness, motivation and response is shaped by distinct characteristics, which, in turn, create implications for the effectiveness of sustainability efforts towards differentiation and competitiveness. Overall, consumers engage in environmental initiatives but ignore the corporate initiatives pursued by the two fashion firms and did not view them as sustainable brands. Originality/value: The study explores the effectiveness of sustainability and environmental protection orientation as business competitive strategies in the light of environmental turbulence and social changes impacting the fast-fashion clothing industry and its relationships with its consumer markets.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCompetitiveness Review
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Competitiveness
  • Consumer attitudes and perceptions
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Environmental protection
  • Fast fashion brands
  • Fast-fashion brands
  • Generation X and Y consumers
  • Generation X consumers
  • Generation Y consumers
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable fashion

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