Published Thursday 10th December 2020

Recent years have seen significant changes in consumer shopping habits. The pandemic has only seemed to accelerate these changes as online retail becomes essential for many businesses’ survival. However, not all changes come down to an increased level of ecommerce – sustainable and more ethically-minded retail is also growing.

As consumers become more interested in investing in brands that share their values and take environmental concerns seriously, retailers are beginning to adapt accordingly. Sustainability plans that prompt a move to rental and second-hand markets are expected to become more relevant in the future as businesses continue to diversify and adapt.

Due to the disruption following the pandemic, businesses’ ability to adapt and make new plans is more important than ever. If you think your company could benefit from a tailored cost reduction strategy, get in touch with our team at Expense Reduction Analysts today.

Brand Image and Responsibility

There continues to be a rising trend towards consumers’ desire to shop with brands they trust and connect to. Expectation for retailers has never been higher; consumers demand transparency and active participation in the community.

Pressure is on brands to have plans in place that support not only the reduction of waste but also focus on long-term sustainability plans that promote ethical living and social equality.

Customers are beginning to look to big brands as the influential entities that they are – there is more call for them to accept their social responsibility and invest in new business models designed to protect the future of the planet.

Emerging Sustainable Markets

In many cases, young people are the driving force behind the interest in more ethically sourced retail – especially fashion.

Brands are responding to young shoppers turning to online second-hand outlets by starting their own initiatives for more sustainable fashion. Examples of this have included brands promoting lines with clothes made from recycled materials, second-hand marketplaces where customers can sell their unwanted clothing and the rise of rental clothing channels.

The re-commerce market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Not only are second-hand products often more affordable, but buying and selling used items aligns with the growing sustainability movement that works to combat fast fashion and wasteful retail.

Many high-end retailers are looking to rental markets in an attempt to adapt to shoppers’ changing priorities. Luxury fashion brands are also beginning to utilise these kinds of options as an answer to their unsustainable prices.

The Pandemic’s Role in The Growth of Ethical Retail

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes in the way the retail industry does business. As the difficulties within supply chains hit the news, more people became aware of unsustainable supply chain processes and workers’ rights were brought to the forefront.

Now more than ever, people are concerned with tackling inequalities and ensuring that they support ethical brands that not only focus on sustainability but value their employees.

If retail businesses hope to survive the aftermath of the pandemic and cater to the growing ethically-centred mentality of their customer base, they must assess how they can wholeheartedly embrace more sustainable practices like rental and second-hand retail.

For advice on how to reduce the costs of your business, contact our team here at Expense Reduction Analysts.