Engagement, uniqueness and sustainability: the demand of young generations for a transparent fashion industry

Studies conducted on Millennials and Gen-Zers show that direct involvement and communication have become crucial factors for brands on the market today.

Custom UX and personalized messages are not the only key features – environmental awareness and a strong ethical culture have also become paramount. When brands operating in the fashion and luxury goods industry embark on the mission to reach out to and win over the younger parts of the population, they must first learn to identify the latest trends sweeping across the globe.

Inclusive Fashion – both online and offline

40% of luxury purchases are prompted by the use of digital technology – nevertheless, 67% of the respondents still give their preference to in-store shopping. 43% of luxury brands name Instagram and Facebook as their most important communication channels; however, 89% of users falling into the Millennial and Generation Z age groups follow less than 10 brands on social media. These statistics were published by Fashion Network as part of the “How to engage the customer of tomorrow” research project, developed and led by Salesforce, SDA Bocconi, and the National Chamber for Italian Fashion. Based on such data we can establish that online presence alone is not enough when it comes to identifying key trends and the consumer habits of the younger parts of the population.

Customized and engaging User Experiences, backed by an omnichannel approach, are proving to be unneglectable priorities. 52% of the respondents want unique in-store shopping experiences, quite unlike the ones Fast Fashion shopping has to offer. Shops are therefore encouraged to become more inclusive and better able to make anyone feel more welcome. 57% of the sample claim that they are willing to share personal details if they are offered a tailored engagement experience based solely on their needs in return, whereas 71% of the Generation Z age group wish to receive targeted e-mails and personalized messages.

Uniqueness, originality and exclusiveness are the key properties outlined by a different study carried out on younger generations. The research, which focuses on the accessories market, was conducted by HOMI Fashion&Jewels, and later published by Vanity Fair. The respondents were young fashion and design students; they tend to agree on the wants and needs of individuals from their very same age group: colors, details and the ability to achieve a perfect balance of personal style and current fashion must be seen as the main ingredients for the creation of unique items of clothing, specially designed for the people who will be wearing them.

Environmental and social awareness as the new leading philosophy

The most striking values which were recorded in the survey conducted as part of the “How to engage the customer of tomorrow” research project were linked to sustainability. 90% of Gen-Z consumers believe that fashion brands should actively face environmental and social issues and moreover make a solid effort to reduce the footprint related to their production cycle. The booming second-hand market provides proof that consumers are starting to lean towards a circular economy. The American second-hand luxury goods market is expected to reach a value of $37 billion in 2021 – a growth driven mainly by consumers aged 18-37: this part of the population is 2.5 times more likely than other target groups to choose the second-hand alternative.

Environmental awareness goes hand in hand with the understanding of social culture and current affairs. The brands which have been supporting global movements for equality and freedom over the past few months, by sharing relevant posts and creating online communities for these topics and for other similar issues, have climbed and topped the rankings for the most popular brands – a feat which has increased both online and in-store sales.

Luxury brands: personalization and transparency

The future relationship between the fashion and luxury goods industry and younger generations will evolve in two different directions: towards the exploration of new communication channels and media on one hand and towards the expression of clear brand values on the other. Insofar as the first of the two approaches is concerned, the choice of leveraging social media, instant messaging platforms, and video conferences is already popular in the field of sales – in luxury boutiques, salespeople are engaging ever more closely with customers. Furthermore, WhatsApp, Zoom and Facebook now play an important role in all phases of the buying process, from the announcement of new products to the development of custom commercial transactions.

The second approach concerns brand values. We have already discussed the crucial importance of sustainability and social responsibility in the construction of a brand’s identity. A recent study (McKinsey) shows that a growing sense of environmental responsibility and a greater use environmentally-friendly materials are what is expected of companies nowadays. It also emerges that Gen-Zers and Millennials are more likely to try out smaller and lesser-known brands, as this offers them the opportunity to support and contribute to the brand’s efforts towards social change. Consumers are paying greater attention to the origins of products and to the stories and processes behind their creation – this piqued interest encourages brands in the fashion industry to increase their transparency and share the key to their success with customers. Openness and the ability to truly listen are the essential properties which have defined Bizeta’s attitude towards its clients since day one.

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