Researchers from Columbia University and Georgetown University publish a new paper at Journal of Marketing which examines how consumers can adopt sustainable consumption lifestyles by purchasing long-lasting luxury and luxury products.
Study, forthcoming Journal of Marketing, titled “Buy Less, Buy Luxury: Understanding and Overcoming Product Durability for Sustainable Consumption” and written by Jennifer Sun, Silvia Bellezza, and Neeru Paharia.
What do luxury products and sustainable goods have in common? Luxury goods have unique and sustainable properties that provide longer service life than lower end products.
Sustainable consumption is on the rise with all consumers. However, young millennial consumers and Generation Z have been more vocal about their desire to embrace sustainability. Several trends have emerged that signal such trends, such as “buy less, buy better” and “slow fashion”, as witnessed by the trend of celebrities wearing similar outfits at several award ceremonies. Consumers who advocate such a lifestyle strive to buy fewer, high-end products that will last longer than many cheap products that are about to be discarded. However, these trends and movements still represent a special segment as products with high price tags do not fit into the stereotypes of sustainable consumption commonly associated with restraint and moderation.
Fast fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara have enabled consumers to purchase disposable clothing and accessories, contributing to a 36% decrease in the average number of items worn compared to the past 15 years. While fast fashion offers consumers access to trendy, albeit short-lived, affordable clothing, it also demands high environmental costs. Indeed, the fashion industry has become one of the biggest polluters, contributing 10% of global carbon emissions as well as 20% of global wastewater.
Sun said that “We propose that luxury goods have unique and sustainable properties that are durable, which includes durable and timeless style, thus enabling them to have a longer lifespan than low-end products. Focus on clothing. and industrial accessories, we found that high-end products could be more sustainable than mass-market products. “
But why do consumers find it hard to see sustainability and luxury as compatible? Despite the durable nature of high-end goods, sustainable luxury can be a paradoxical concept for consumers as many of them ignore the inherent durability of luxury products. The typical consumer prefers to buy a few mass-market products rather than fewer high-end goods. “That’s because of neglect of product durability, failure to consider how long a product will last, whereas durability is an important product attribute that consumers really value,” explains Bellezza. How can marketers help consumers focus on durability? The researchers say that when the long-lasting properties of high-end products are emphasized, consumers are more likely to overcome their durability abandonment and buy fewer, but better, high-end products.
While consumers can actively participate in the sustainability movement by selectively buying fewer, durable products that last longer, companies can also benefit from an emphasis on product durability, attractive and timely attributes that are directly related to sustainable luxury. In fact, many high-end entrepreneurial brands, such as Pivotte, Everlane, and Cuyana, as well as more established premium and luxury brands, such as Patagonia and Loro Piana, promote the use of high-quality materials and timeless styles that extend the longevity of their products.
Paharia said that “Focusing on the resilience aspect of sustainability can be an effective marketing strategy for high-end brands to promote their products while helping consumers engage in more sustainable consumption practices. That is, emphasizing product durability can shape consumers’ actual purchasing behavior. while promoting the attributes that are at the heart of luxury brands. “In fact, two important campaigns that directly address the findings include Patagonia’s” Buy Less, Demand More “ad, which states that buying fewer, more durable Patagonian products is better. for consumers and the environment, as well as Patek Philippe’s iconic “Generations.” “The campaign, which proposes that a brand’s watch is so durable and timeless that consumers only care for it for the next generation. Marketers and high-end product brand managers can emphasize the durability of their products to help consumers overcome neglect of product durability and encourage them to buy fewer of the better items for a more sustainable future.
The full article and author’s contact information is available at: https: /
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