Report: Americans Would Rather Buy Cheap Than Buy Ethical

A new report from the risk-management firm, Deloitte, has found that the average American consumer’s “share of spending devoted to clothing has dropped by more than half since 1987.”

As detailed by Quartz, the exhaustive report was compiled using data from “more than 200 billion credit card transactions,” as well as survey results from over 4,000 US consumers, and data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the report, “in 1987 US shoppers devoted about 5% of their discretionary spending to clothes,” but by 2017, “it was about 2%.” Meanwhile, shopping habits in other categories, such as “entertainment, dining out, alcohol, and furniture,” has remained “relatively stable.”

Most interestingly (and tellingly), however, is that while the amount of money Americans are spending on clothing has gone down, the amount of clothing items Americans are purchasing each year “grew consistently over the period studied.” In other words, people are buying more, but spending less to get it. Thank you fast fashion.

As any regular reader of this site already knows, “the business model behind cheap fashion directly contributes to the labor and human rights abuses seen in the industry’s supply chain.” But, it turns out we’re all just as guilty as the brands – if not more so.

“Much has been said and written about how consumers seem increasingly focused on where products are sourced from, child labor in product development, supply chain transparency, sustainability, and other ethical matters,” Deloitte notes. But, as the report found, price is still the most decisive element in a purchase, “beating out product selection, convenience, and several other factors. Next to last on the list was ‘alignment with core values.'”

Sounds about right. Unfortunately.

You can read more about it at Quartz.

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