Market Analytics Oct 7, 2019 3 min read

The Sustainability EDIT 2019 Retail Analysis

In this report, we look at the state of sustainable fashion, and if newness in fashion is outpacing consumer demand.

We all know the stats. The clothing and textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world after oil. And the apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions.

While there is still constant demand for newness in our wardrobes, the damage caused by fast fashion is something brands, and consumers can no longer afford to ignore. But what is the current state of play of sustainable retail? With wider market analysis and EDITED data, we uncover a deeper understanding of what sustainable fashion looks like in retail today and in the years to come.

This is where embracing AI and data come into play... 

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While retailers are taking positive steps towards offering more sustainable products in their assortments, one of the biggest problems in fashion is its enormous contribution to landfills. It's become the norm for consumers to expect fast fashion brands to drop new product launches every month, even every week, rather than traditional seasonal drops.

Understanding Gen-Z consumers and their attitudes towards retail and the fashion industry provides insight into this overwhelming demand. According to the State of Fashion 2018 by McKinsey & Company and the Business of Fashion, one in three women in the UK considers clothing to be 'old' after wearing them just once. And thanks to the impact social media has on our lives, one in seven young women find it a faux-pas to be photographed in the same outfit more than twice. Despite these statistics, younger consumers are applauded for being more "woke" than older generations. The report further stated nine in ten Gen Z consumers believe companies have a responsibility to be transparent with environmental and social issues. This leaves retailers in a tricky situation. While Gen Z is demanding constant newness, they are also the ones pushing for environmental change, especially within fashion. And it's up to each retailer to navigate that balance.

Have retailers hit the threshold of newness? Is newness in fashion actually outpacing consumer demand? And costing the environment? 

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Analyzing the number of new products arriving month by month over the past year from the top 10 online fast fashion brands in the US shows an average of over 42,000 new options for consumers per month. Additionally, these retailers are discounting on average, over 39,000 products for the first time each month. And the average number of products selling out of the majority of SKUs at these retailers is only peaking 28,000 per month. 

Technology such as EDITED can help track the number of styles being launched, discounted, and selling out each day, giving retailers visibility of what products are working well. EDITED gives retailers the power to adjust assortments accordingly, minimizing the number of unsold goods adding to this global problem.

For more insight into the current state of play of sustainable retail, download our free report: The Sustainability EDIT.

This report includes analytical research on how the industry has been expanding the use of sustainable fabrics and processes in their assortments over time as well as the pricing and performance metrics behind eco-friendly products.