Mapping future trends
Even the smallest trends can gain momentum over time and turn into forces of change that transform the marketplace. Our industry is constantly influenced by trends - large and small - that shape the direction of the market and sway consumers' shopping behaviors. Three trends in particular stood out from our research:
- Conscious consumption: In a resource-constrained world with an ever-growing population, there is a growing contempt for mass consumption. Many young consumers prefer to own less “stuff” than their parents. They want smaller houses and material footprints, which simply means buying less.
- Sharing economy: The desire to possess less is influencing a rising preference for access over ownership. Consumers are rethinking the products they need and are willing to spend their money only on those items that provide a sense of purpose and enable them to participate in meaningful, enriching experiences.
- Commitment to sustainability: Consumers today expect brands to go beyond measuring their success solely by profit and align their behaviors with socioeconomic and environmental realities. Consumers want to associate with brands that have a positive impact on society.
VF Consumer Insights
We conduct in-depth consumer research to help us understand what our consumers expect from our brands and products. The insights we collect offer an important window into how our consumers are shifting the expectations they have of our brands as their social, economic and environmental realities change. We continually see that consumers want to purchase products and engage with brands that align with their personal values. They don’t want to trade performance, style or price for sustainability; they want it all. Many also acknowledge the challenge of finding sustainable products to meet their needs. This presents a unique opportunity to create sustainable products that all consumers can access across multiple price points.
We continually engage with external, nonprofit stakeholders to inform our strategy and programs. We are actively working with multiple organizations including the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and the Retail Industry Leaders Associations’ Retail Sustainability Initiative (RILA and RSI) as well as local and international nonprofits and governments.
We partnered with these organizations and others on our 2017 materiality assessment. Through this process, we received confirmation from both internal and external stakeholders that our sustainability strategy is addressing the issues they believe are of greatest concern.
- Climate action
- Ethical labor practices and workplace health and safety
- Energy reduction and energy efficiency
- Waste generated in manufacturing
- Water use in textile and manufacturing
- Ensuring consumer safety of products and materials