The new generations consume less fashion and more used clothes

Young people spend less and less on fashion.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 10:23
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The new generations consume less fashion and more used clothes

Young people spend less and less on fashion. They buy less frequently, buy fewer items, and spend less on clothing than their parents' or grandparents' generation. Among other reasons, because the pandemic has driven new purchasing habits and different priorities when it comes to spending your budget, which is increasingly compromised as a result of the imbalance between rising prices and wages.

These are some of the conclusions of the report Fashion before a different consumer prepared by the consulting firm Kantar Worldpanel, which warns the textile sector that the younger generations have clearly changed their behavior when it comes to purchasing fashion compared to the boomers. and show other preferences in their spending. As a consequence, “today we find fewer fashion buyers, who buy less frequently and who spend 33% less on textile clothing than in 2008: an average of 393 euros compared to 584 then,” the authors indicate. Of the report.

"When we analyze behavior by age, we see that the group that is buying the least clothing is the 25-45 year old, while in the 15 to 24 year old group consumption remains quite stable and in the older group, the older 45, purchases increase and the market grows,” explains Rosa López, director of the fashion and beauty business at Kantar Worldpanel, in conversation with La Vanguardia.

And he adds that, while the baby boom generation bought 6% more fashion last year, younger generations reduced their spending by 1.7%. This has to do, says López, with the fact that among young people there are more millennials and more unemployment than among boomers, but also with a change in priorities and values.

In this sense, he emphasizes that the new generations prioritize spending on leisure and travel over other items such as spending on clothing or footwear, "so that if they earn little, if they raise their rent, mortgage and food much more than The salary, the little budget they have left, is spent on going out instead of buying clothes because, in the end, today we all have full closets.”

Added to this is that the new generations are the most sensitive to environmental problems and the commitment to sustainable consumption, which means that there is a significant number of young people who direct their purchases to “what is strictly necessary” or are committed to buying and selling. second-hand clothing to meet your needs.

According to the Kantar report, two out of five consumers believe that fashion harms the environment. However, only three in ten are willing to pay a premium to buy garments made in a more sustainable way or made with recycled materials.

"It's fine to say that you are environmentally conscious or ecological, but when it comes to paying, things change, and young people choose to buy their clothes from low-cost operators such as Shein, Pepco, Zeeman or Kik or to buy online. internet, which is less sustainable,” says López.

This type of contradictions in the relationship between young people and fashion is also evident in the report on The relationship between young Spaniards and fashion in a physical world that was prepared last year by the consulting firms Mazinn and Zetalab Global, specialized in analysis. of trends and cultural research on generation Z (those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s). After interviewing 360 young people, they conclude that they are aware of the harmful part of the textile sector for the environment and consume a lot of second-hand fashion, but not because they are more sustainable but because of their desire to acquire unique and cheaper clothing and items.

Specifically, less than a quarter of members of Generation Z who buy or sell second-hand clothing do so because they want to have more responsible consumption. 43% do it to “make some money” and 32% “to vary” their clothing collection.

Álvaro Justribó, founder of Mazinn, emphasizes that generation Z, like all others, is heterogeneous and the behaviors of its members are full of nuances, and he differentiates the consumption they make of fashion from the importance they give to it. “Fashion is still important; We Zetas attach a lot of importance to how we determine our personality, because we do not want to be all the same and we seek to differentiate ourselves and characterize ourselves with the clothes we wear, so spending on clothing is selected more, we reflect on what I buy and why I buy , and although people may buy less, fashion is still important and spending on it continues to be prioritized,” says Justribó.

In this sense, the study shows that clothes from emerging brands created by other young people are part of the top 5 of clothes most purchased by members of generation Z because they are less conventional and help them differentiate themselves with fashion. However, 85% of those surveyed admit that what has the most weight in their closet are fast fashion garments, from large fashion chains, with Shein being the most popular among members of this generation.

“The contradictions, the versus, are what define our generation because we are in a vital moment in which we are finishing polishing our personality and we face many realities that compete with each other; We are concerned about sustainability but there are brands that are not sustainable and we like them; and second-hand clothing is the second type with the most presence in our closets, but the majority justification for this is the positive impact on our pocketbook” not on the environment, admits the founder of Mazinn.

Now, he believes that although young people's fashion consumption is not as “eco” as they describe themselves, second-hand clothing is increasingly having more weight in their closets (58.5% of respondents have it) and it is expected that in 2030 reused garments will be the most numerous in your wardrobe. “Currently less than 30% of Generation Z's wardrobe is sustainable fashion, but in 2030 it will occupy between 30% and 50% of their wardrobe,” indicate Mazinn consultants.