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CGS 2020 Retail Survey: Sustainability is Critical

CGS 2020 Retail Survey: Sustainability is Critical


CGS published its second annual 2020 Retail and Sustainability Survey disclosing the clothing shopping preference of more than 2,000 individuals (ages 18-65+) from the United States and the United Kingdom.

CGS is a global provider of business applications, enterprise learning, and outsourcing services. Founded in 1984 by Phil Friedman in New York City with five people, CGS has grown today to over 7,500 employees across North America, Latin America, Europe, The Middle East, and Asia.

In its most recent consumer survey, CGS shows how sustainable products and business practices are driving fashion, apparel, and footwear buying preferences post-COVID-19 crisis.

Sustainability is more important than ever in the mind of fashion lovers, even though consumers have various understandings of what being sustainable means.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers have drastically changed their shopping habits. However, sustainability remains one very important factor in brand loyalty and pricing.

CGS reveals in its 2020 Retail and Sustainability Survey key findings on consumers' priorities in the market impacted by COVID-19. While consumers in the U.K. rate sustainability as important, consumers in the U.S. are more likely to purchase sustainable products.

Like many other industries, the fashion industry has been massively affected by the pandemic and lockdown. Production orders were canceled, textile and garment factories stood still, retail stores closed down, businesses went bankrupt, and workers lost their livelihood.

It will take time for the global textile and apparel industry to recover. However, fashion companies cannot thrive post-COVID-19 crisis without massive change to become more sustainable.

The survey highlights that both in the U.S. and U.K., 30% of consumers would stop using a brand completely if it didn't use sustainable and ethical practices, and more than 30% would purchase less frequently.

The sustainability movement is growing rapidly, especially in the fashion industry. Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and are demanding that brands become more transparent, accountable, and responsible.

Conscious consumerism is growing. Brands must commit to environmental protection and ethical manufacturing to keep the trust of their employees and win over customers both in the U.S. and U.K.


“The research confirms that the shift in retail we were already beginning to see before the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating. [...] Retailers and brands will need to make sure sustainability efforts don’t get left behind during the shift. Consumers will continue to prioritize this, especially as they shop online more frequently. They are paying attention to products as well as shipping and packaging methods for sustainability.”

 - Paul Magel, CGS Applications Solutions Division President


Consumers in both regions are convinced that fashion brands could adopt sustainable practices, including waste reduction and ethical practices. However, U.K. consumers think the government has a greater role to play in regulating sustainable practices, while U.S. consumers believe brands should take massive action toward sustainability.

It's time for fashion brands and retailers to implement sustainability and transparency measures in their daily operations, from material sourcing to product packaging, as consumers' shopping preferences post COVID-19 are changing.

To build trust, keep customers, suppliers, and partners, fashion brands and retailers must work for the integration of more ecological, social, and economic sustainability practices.

Read the CGS 2020 Retail and Sustainability Survey at cgsinc.com.

About the Author: Alex Assoune

Alex Assoune Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.

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