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Industry Talk

UK shoppers choose natural materials

Cotton USA reveals latest UK shopping trends.

16th July 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  London

Sustainable, Clothing/​Footwear

The findings, from Cotton USA’s Global Lifestyle Monitor (GLM), show that Brits are continuing to shun man-made materials in favour of natural, high-quality fibres. Of those who said they would avoid buying certain materials, 28% of people refuse to buy polyester, 17% avoid synthetic acrylics, and 2% avoid rayon and viscose.

Additionally, when asked who or what is most responsible for garments made in a non-environmentally friendly way, manufacturers received the most blame from UK consumers (40%). This was followed by brands (21%) and the consumers themselves (17%).

Responsible consumers

“Across all parts of everyday life, consumers are becoming more conscious than ever before about how their actions impact the world we live in,” said Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, International Marketing Manager at Cotton USA.

“Our findings truly reflect how this applies to the consumption of fashion and textiles, and really identifies the shift UK consumers have made in the past few years. However, despite these changes, British consumers continue to favour clothes and garments made from high-quality, natural fibres such as US cotton – a trend that we at Cotton USA are confident will remain and strengthen in the future.”

Preferring natural fibres

When asked which fibres people feel are safe for the environment, cotton was found to be perceived as the safest (79%), and 69% of UK consumers also believe that cotton is the most sustainable fabric.

Nearly half of UK shoppers (45%) say they would pay more for clothing made from natural fibres, such as US cotton, as opposed to only 4% who would pay more for synthetics. The most cited reasons for preferring natural fibres are that they are considered to be more comfortable (65%), of better quality (57%) and more durable (34%).

Comfort, trustworthiness and softness

Eight three percent of UK consumers also say that cotton and cotton blends are the fibres they want in the clothing they wear most often, and 80% say cotton is best suited for today’s fashions. Reasons for preferring fibres such as US cotton include comfort (75%), trustworthiness (72%), and softness (69%). Another 80% of consumers also associate the fibre with being authentic.

According to the research, 70% of UK consumers look at fibre content labels at least some of the time before purchasing a garment. Older generations were found to be most likely to look at fibre content labels, (75%), compared to younger consumers (63%).

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