Conscious consumption is the trend of the future
The day is already here when consumers are increasingly doing research about a product and the company producing it before making the final purchase. Consumers are now more educated than ever, which leads them to buy less, but buy better. 'Conscious consumption' is the trend of the future!
Impulse buying has dropped in this pandemic for a variety of reasons. People are visiting brick-and-mortar stores less than before. Impulse buying happens when we visit the mall to buy a pair of shoes, but end up acquiring a dress and a pair of fashion earrings as well.
Impulse buying also takes place online when we watch targeted ads on social media, or simply when we see that something is being sold at a discount. We land up purchasing things that we do not need and perhaps will not use more than a couple of times.
There are occasions when an item bought online does not even meet our expectations, but we keep it anyway. Who is the loser here? You and only you. However, because so many of us are working from home, so many of us have lost jobs or businesses or had salaries slashed, we are not shopping like before. We are tight on cash and impulse buying is not happening as frequently as before.
However, a drop in impulse buying is not just tied to pandemic and financial struggle. Consumers are increasingly becoming more and more aware of where their money goes. As a result, 'fast fashion' is going out of style among conscious consumers. These consumers are ready to pay more for better products, products that they will use for months and years into the future.
Cheap and trendy fashion got us into the idea that a garment should be worn only once, as if wearing an outfit more than once is a fashion crime. We are moving away from that idea; it is now trendy to wear an article of clothing or a pair of shoes over and over. When you wear an outfit more than once, it shows that you 'own' it, it also shows that it is long-lasting enough to be worn over and over. After all, only poorly made things break after one or two uses.
There are other consequences of swimming in the sea of fast fashion. Fast fashion is cheap, yes. However, there are costs associated with fast fashion. Be it a t-shirt or a salwar suit, companies in fast fashion copy the looks and design elements of top fashion houses to make cheap clothes. These clothes are not meant to last and hence, they look faded or fall apart after one wash or a couple of wears. What happens next is that these clothes end up in landfills, polluting the environment.
Remember, there are environmental costs associated with producing anything. Not just environmental costs, cheap products are cheap because they use cheap materials and cheap labour. When companies use good quality materials and pay fair wages to their workers, prices naturally go up. But would you not feel better about using a product when you know that the people who produced it were not cheated out of their fair wages? This is where comes the importance of ethical buying. Educated consumers want to know if a company's workers are paid fair wages.
Conscious consumers check company profiles to find out how businesses spend their money. Is a company socially accountable? Does it invest a portion of its profit in social or community projects? Does it pay and treat its employees fairly? Has it breached any law of the state? Does it pay taxes? Are its products and services as good as they claim to be?
Companies that do business to bring changes to the society fare well in the long run. I have recently bought some face masks from two renowned American fashion houses. I could have bought face masks for much less from elsewhere, but I chose these companies despite their steep prices because, one — their masks are made from high quality materials, and two — these two companies donate their profits from selling face masks to big causes.
This is an ever-changing world. In today's world, consumers are more powerful and educated than ever. They are ready to boycott companies that violate human rights, avoid taxes, and have detrimental effects on the environment. In the future, the number of these conscious consumers will increase further and we will witness a rise in conscious consumption.