French Fashion Institut (Institut Française de La Mode) and Première Vision recently issued a study of the European fashion market analyzing consumers’ expectations for the second half of 2020. Most consumers still consider fashion buying as a pleasure purchase and two elements emerge as fundamental–buying products that are eco-responsible and produced locally.

Last June, the French Fashion Institut (IFM), within a framework of the IFM-Première Vision Chair as part of studies started in 2016, analyzed the opinions of 5,000 consumers ages 18 and older from France, Germany, Italy and The UK with the aim to understand how consumption will evolve in the second half of 2020, in the context of the current health crisis. 


Almost half of the interviewed, irrespective of age, are motivated to consume better and ranked ecological materials as their most important criteria in choosing and purchasing an eco-responsible product. In addition 58.5% of them favor local production.

Timeless items win
Despite the pandemic and a climate of uncertainty, 42% of women and 30.4% of men in Europe will reduce their spending, a subset of consumers–13.7% of women and 17.1% of men–are, instead, in favor of increasing their fashion buys. Some 88.9% of these consumers indicated being driven by a “revenge shopping” impulse, meaning that they want to catch-up on their buying following the restrictions imposed by the confinement. 


In France, consumers said they want to significantly increase their spending between now and the end of 2020, despite the fact that clothing is ranked fourth (with 8.2% of votes), following health, wellness, food, furniture and décor, but ahead of vacations, leisure, automobiles and sports.


The polled Europeans–not surprisingly–said they will focus largely on sales and promotions in the coming months. Moreover, they pointed out that they want to focus on timeless products (83.7%) and for 47.3% (almost one out of two consumers), on more expensive and quality items.

Opting for eco-friendly fashion
Eco-responsible fashion products attract a significant majority of consumers. Some 64.1% of Europeans want to buy items made from eco-responsible materials and 30.1% are willing to spend more for them.
The percentage rises to 66.1% in France and 76.2% in Italy; in this last case there is a shared behavior among both younger and less young consumers. 


Generally in Europe, among 18-34 year olds, this percentage is even higher, reaching 73.1%.
In France, 36.8% of consumers would like to devote a larger budget to eco-friendly products (to which can be added the 51.6% who would to dedicate the same budget). In addition, nearly one out of every two young people ages 18-34 (49.3%) would like to devote a larger budget to responsible fashion.
 

Materials count
Material is the principal criteria guiding eco-friendly purchases. In Europe, 41.8% of consumers cite eco-responsible materials (recycled, organic, or new fibers) as their number one criterion when choosing an eco-responsible product. UK and German consumers are the most likely to cite materials as the driving force behind their eco-responsible purchases (43.8% and 45.6% respectively). This belief is shared by all young people in the various European countries, a development that may suggest that in times of health crisis, an interest in materials is linked to global health concerns. In France and Italy, countries with a longtime existing manufacturing tradition and strong know-how, consumers continue to show a strong interest in environmentally friendly production–40.7% in France and 44% in Italy.

Looking for “Made In”
The majority of consumers continue to pay close attention to labels. In Europe, 60% will check where an item was manufactured, and 58.5% will favor local manufacturing. Among younger consumers ages 18- 34, 33.1% are even willing to boycott certain products made abroad. 


European consumers indicate that they are highly in favor of putting production location on labels, and even making it mandatory, which would require the adoption of a European directive for all member countries.
In countries with a longtime existing manufacturing tradition–France and especially Italy–this aspect is even more important. In Italy, 73.5% of consumers pay attention to the manufacturing location (63.5% in France) and 72.9% prefer Made in Italy products, while 61.5% would opt for Made in France ones. This need for transparency and traceability is slightly less strong in Germany and the UK.



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