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THIS MONTH'S TOPIC
The New Consumer Slant on Eco-Friendly Apparel

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:
How Keen Are We on Green?

Much attention has been focused in the past few years on eco-friendly products, and there’s been plenty of debate as to what customers really want and how much they’re willing to pay for it.
 
In this month’s Executive Issues, NPD’s consumer guru Marshal Cohen shares some revealing new data about consumers’ expectations for green goods and sustainable business practices, how their perspective and focus has changed, and just how much of their cash they’re willing to part with in support of such products.  
 
Plus, we take a look at how retailers and brands can seek balance in meeting these consumer needs and maintaining healthy profits. 



Publisher
snichols@apparelmag.com

Exclusive Feature
Green Today: It's Not Just the Color of Money
Contributed by Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst, The NPD Group Inc., Marshal.Cohen@npd.com

Just how much emphasis do consumers put on eco-friendly product these days? Our research in 2005 showed that only 11 percent of consumers said they were looking for product that was eco-friendly (that didn’t include food and cars). That number grew to 18 percent by 2008. Then there was this ‘little’ distraction called the recession and the consumer almost all but forgot about eco-friendly with the exception of electricity, automobiles (gas consumption, more than emissions) and healthier food. 
 
Enter the recovery and consumers have begun their focus on eco-friendly again, but with a very different spin. The consumer today is more focused on what they can do to reduce their own expenses as they relate to a more energy efficient lifestyle. More and more they tell us they are more aware of their carbon footprint, but, not quite the same way as prior to recession.  

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Vendor Viewpoint
FINDING BALANCE IN CREATING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
Contributed by Dawson E. Winch, Global Brand Manager, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Dawson.E.Winch@usa.dupont.com

From the time we are young we learn and appreciate the art of balancing — from learning to walk to riding a ‘two wheeler’ to creating a smooth ‘ride’ on the see-saw with a friend. As we age, the art of balance takes on new dimensions — balancing home with work, exercise with relaxation, and spontaneity with demanding schedules. 

In today’s apparel market as we work to create distinct and highly saleable products, the challenge is not just balancing two opposites as in Yin Yang — it requires carefully balancing product attributes and benefits so that they meet the various wants and demands of the customer. So, instead of resembling a see-saw, our creative product process begins to resemble a complex machine with many moving parts that must work in concert.  

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