ASOS, the online clothing retailer, recently announced a target of zero net carbon emissions by the year 2030. It’s a move that comes following ongoing criticisms of the environmental impact of “fast” fashion organisations – and one that YouGov Plan & Track data shows may be a deft commercial move as well.
Nearly one in five consumers (18%) say they “only buy clothing from sustainable providers”, and these consumers have significantly worse opinions of ASOS than the rest of the country. Among the wider public, ASOS had a Reputation score (which measures whether you would be proud or embarrassed to work for a particular retailer) of 4.3 as of September 17 2021; among people who claim to only buy from sustainable brands, its reputation score was -2.6.
Overall Impression scores for the brand, which measure whether perceptions of a company are good or bad, were even worse: while the broader group of consumers have a solidly positive view of ASOS (8.0), the more eco-conscious demographic is firmly negative (-4.9). Recommendation scores were also 12.8 points lower within the latter group (-4.6) than the former (+8.2).
With this in mind, it makes sense that the retailer’s Index scores – a measure of overall brand health calculated by taking the average of Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Recommend and Reputation scores – also suffer. While scores among consumers as a whole are at a solid 6.8, among those who prize sustainability they are at -1.8.
There is some indication that those who say they only buy from sustainable brands aren’t boycotting ASOS entirely. For one thing, Current Customer scores – which track whether consumers have bought a product from a fashion retailer in the past three months – are still positive (3.3.), albeit less so than they are with the general public (6.8). This might suggest that many don’t perceive ASOS as a particularly irresponsible brand, or perhaps that their commitment to environmentally-friendly fashion isn’t as solid as they say.
Nevertheless, with COP26 around the corner, ASOS’ pitch to the eco-conscious public comes at a good time. A significant minority are saying that sustainability is a priority for them – and with environmental issues taking on more and more importance to the public, it makes sense that fast fashion readers would try to get them on board.