The impact of Corporate Social Responsibility within the fashion industry on the buying behaviour of females' aged 18-24 in Scotland
(2016) The impact of Corporate Social Responsibility within the fashion industry on the buying behaviour of females' aged 18-24 in Scotland, no. 71.
The fashion industry has significantly evolved in recent years due to the introduction of fast fashion. (Perry et al. 2014) This manufacturing process has led to retailers producing low cost, low-quality, trend items, leading to negative environmental and social impacts (Bly et al. 2013) and overconsumption by consumers. (Bhardwaj and Fairhurst 2010) As a result, some high-street retailers have increased their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and introduced a number of ethical clothing ranges. This research investigates the extent to which Corporate Social Responsibility impacts young consumers' purchasing behaviour when shopping for clothing, as these fast fashions are primarily targeted at such consumers. The study was conducted through the means of a qualitative approach with use of semi-structured interviews on seven female consumers' aged 18-24 in Scotland. The research found that businesses' ethical stances are not deemed a vital attribute when purchasing clothing for participants. Factors such as cost and fashionability were deemed most significant, even for those who consider ethical issues to be fundamental. Consumers therefore have what is called an Attitude-Behaviour gap (Auger et al. 2007) where they say that ethical issues are important to them but they do not portray this within their purchasing decisions. Consumers feel they are not sufficiently informed of a businesses' CSR, resulting in them feeling inept when making purchasing decision whilst shopping for clothing. They also perceive ethical clothing ranges to be more expensive and are unwilling to compromise on other factors in order to purchase ethical clothing. Consumers therefore, need more information to enable them to make sound ethical decisions. Businesses should therefore, communicate their Corporate Social Responsibility with consumers more effectively which would lead to better judgments being made in regards to a businesses' social responsibility. This information however, should be limited so as not to overwhelm consumers. However, only females aged 18-24 in Scotland were interview interviewed, limiting the generalisability and accuracy of the study in regards to being representative of the population. Further research should look into these issues further as well as focusing on wider consumer groups.