The buzzwords "sustainability" and "sustainable fashion" are playing an increasingly important role in online shopping. Since customers are also attaching more and more importance to "green" products in fashion e-commerce, Arvato Supply Chain Solutions took a close look at the German online fashion trade and examined around 50 textile brands and retailers for their sustainability. The main result: In some areas there is still a lot of catching up to do. But some of the customers are also very ambivalent.
Big discrepancies in communication
According to the study, 34 percent of fashion brands are trying to give themselves a sustainable image and to signal their own environmental commitment to customers through logos or slogans. The topic of sustainability is also reflected in the structure of the online shop; it is an integral part of the navigation for two out of three of the retailers considered. However, this is often still of minor relevance: more than 60 percent of fashion brands still push the idea of sustainability into the background when presenting their products, and only every fourth shop focuses on the topic in online shop communication.
"On closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that there are enormous differences in the information density that companies share with their customers," explains Franziska Kier, head of the eCommerce Competence Center at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions. "The statements range from greenwashing phrases such as 'This is a sustainable product' to detailed material and production descriptions."
Increasing trend of re-commerce
The Arvato study revealed a considerable backlog in the sustainable range. The proportion of sustainable products is still less than five percent in almost every second company. Only nine percent of the online retailers surveyed were able to show a product range of more than 25 percent. A positive aspect, however, is that alternative utilization strategies have gained in importance. Instead of disposing of clothing in the container, the trend is now increasingly towards re-commerce. "Classic retailers and brands such as Zalando and H&M have also jumped on the bandwagon and are offering their customers appropriate take-back options," Franziska Kier continues. "Parallel to this, so-called fashion-as-a-service models have established themselves in e-commerce, which follow the idea of the sharing economy and lend clothing items."
Ambiguous behavior of the young generation
According to the study, the "green" shipping options of CEP service providers and their packaging are still not very popular. Logistics still offers a lot of potential here, but this remains unused by customers. "Apart from the fashion companies, of course, the consumers also have a responsibility," comments Franziska Kier. "But the young generation in particular, which is extremely pushing the topic of sustainability, is still very ambivalent here - this is shown, among other things, by the success of the textile discounter Primark, which offers fast fashion at extremely low prices."
The full analysis can be downloaded from the Arvato Supply Chain Solutions website.