I did a recent poll on LinkedIn that asked if a company’s working conditions factor into buying habits and decisions. 33% of responses said that they focus on other things and I would have to agree.

In recent years, there has been, quite rightly a huge surge in retailers focusing on greener, more sustainable materials and initiatives in their supply chain and in stores. The term “eco-friendly” is part of daily conversation and has dominated retailers’ efforts in trying to focus on their impact on the environment.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, this shift to an environmentally conscious approach to shopping has been heightened and my guess is that one big change that will stick is people continuing to support and shop at local businesses.


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According to a 2020 GlobalData report, 37.3% of UK consumers agreed that retailers that place greater emphasis on sustainability were “more appealing” and I think that consumers are savvy in looking at less plastic, less pollution and greener product claims.

Consumers are mindful of recycling and companies regularly use their green policies in positive PR but are we as clued up on their ethical practices?

Generation Z is the generation after Millennials, it includes anyone born after 1997. By 2020 there will be over 2.5 billion people in this generation, so they are on track to becoming the largest generation of consumers ever.


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According to ‘Autumn Fair’ (5-8 September 2021, NEC Birmingham, B40 1NT, UK) Generation Z are a very diverse cohort, even more diverse than millennials. They are very comfortable with complex sexualities and gender identities and their buying characteristics heavily revolve around their social responsibility. They are more aware of modern-day challenges such as climate change and terrorism and they want to see change.

The Times has reported that German investment bank Berenberg found that Boohoo’s Instagram following has continued to grow, despite negative publicity about poor working conditions in factories in Leicester where its products are made. Berenberg noted there had been “no particular change” in purchase intent in 16-to-34-year-olds.

The above statements seem to show two opposing reports of buying habits for the same group.

The popularity of fast-fashion is a result of giving the customers what they want- influencer-led trends; affordable pricing, fast delivery options, free returns and a multitude of payment options.

However, fast fashion can also be confusing with buzzwords such as sustainability, eco shopping, and conscious shopping all used in a PR led campaign.


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There’s no denying that after 2020, consumers will be more aware of their buying decisions and what impact they, as an individual, will have on the environment or factory workers.

For that reason, brands must be ready for change and must be ready to recognise the multitude of triggers that are driving buyers’ behaviours.

Pressure continues to mount on retailers. Retailers must (at the very least) have an impressive digital first ecommerce site, provide an experience lead destination in any bricks and mortar premises, demonstrate that they are ethical and sustainable in an honest and transparent way, be price competitive, offer excellent customer service with choice that is varied daily but not overwhelming.

I’m really keen to hear from my network- what is driving your marketing strategy for 2021? Have your customers’ buying habits changed? How are you ensuring that you are chosen over competitors?


Alicia Williams is Brand Manager for Beauty, Fashion and more at GO! If you’d like to discuss your brand challenges or 2021 plans with Alicia, you can reach her at [email protected], or get in touch with GO! here.