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Zalando launches new sustainable fashion experiences as it predicts better than expected quarterly results

Image courtesy of Zalando

European online fashion and lifestyle platform Zalando has launched a new experience in the fashion store enabling customers to browse the more sustainable fashion assortment according to the values they care about.

Through a new experience in the fashion store customers are now able to browse based on the values they care about, such as water conservation, worker wellbeing, reusing materials, animal welfare, reducing emissions, and extending the life of fashion.

Further, Zalando continues to invest into its Pre-owned offer, enabling customers in seven additional markets to trade in and buy pre-owned fashion. From April 22, customers in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy and Sweden will be able to trade in their pre-owned garments directly on Zalando and shop items from a highly-curated and quality-checked assortment in the “Pre-owned” category

The move comes as the retailer reports better than expected results for the first quarter of 2021. According to preliminary figures, Zalando increased Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) by between 54.5 and 56.5% to €3.13bn to €3.17bn, up on Q1 2020’s €2.0bn. It predicts that revenues have also risen by between 46 and48% to €2.22bn to €2.26bn (Q1 2020: €1.5bn).

Chief Financial Officer David Schröder says: “The successful execution of our platform strategy allowed us to serve even more customers and to create opportunities for even more partners amidst a challenging overall European fashion market environment.”

Closing the attitude-behaviour gap

The retailer has also published a report showing that, while consumers want to shop for fashion more sustainably, there remains a gap between their wants and their ability to put it into practice.

The report, “It Takes Two: How the Industry and Consumers Can Close the Sustainability ‘Attitude-Behaviour Gap’ in Fashion”, investigates the gap between attitudes and behaviours and shows that many consumers struggle to turn their sustainability priorities into fashion purchasing decisions.

It also provides clear recommendations on how to collaboratively close this gap.

Based on consumer research carried out in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the UK, the report finds that for the fashion industry there is a need to make sustainable choices more attractive, realistic, and accessible [1]. Consumers, meanwhile, need to prioritize sustainability in fashion as much as in other parts of their lives

Zalando co-CEO, David Schneider explains: “We aim for 25% of our GMV to come from more sustainable products by 2023. During the coronavirus crisis, customers told us that shopping sustainably became more important to them than ever before. But when we asked them how they felt about sustainable fashion, the strongest association was ‘guilt’ and the weakest was ‘fun’. If, as an industry, we’re serious about sustainability, we need to fix this dissonance now to build a stronger future for fashion.”

The “It Takes Two” report gives 10 recommendations that can support fashion companies in helping to close the attitude-behaviour gap and points to three key priorities that need to be accelerated.

First, the fashion industry must earn trust through simple and convincing communication, secondly, it must motivate changes in behaviour, and thirdly, it must scale circularity and offer solutions to close the loop.

Kate Heiny, Director Sustainability at Zalando, elaborates: “Our customers tell us that they care deeply about sustainability, but they struggle to translate their values into actions when they go into stores or shop online. Our role as a platform is to enable ourselves, our brand partners, and our customers to make more sustainable choices, inspire collaborative action and long-lasting change. That’s why we produced this report, which we can all learn from: Zalando, the fashion industry, and consumers. This report brought us to the conclusion that if we really want to close the long-existing attitude-behaviour gap in fashion, collaboration is the only way forward. We have to come together; the fashion industry and our consumers.”

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