A new survey conducted by global packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa has revealed that European consumers are making a statement by demanding more sustainable packaging from brands before making online fashion purchases. 

The survey, which was conducted with consumers across four European countries, found that 41% of online fashion shoppers have become more eco-conscious when buying the latest fashion online since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research, which surveyed consumers in Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, and the UK, found nearly half of consumers purchase fashion items online once a month or more, reflecting the sector’s increasing popularity among both female (44%) and male (43%) shoppers.

According to the survey, 35% of fashion consumers stated they wouldn’t make an online purchase from a fashion company if they discovered its packaging wasn't eco-friendly. Meanwhile, 25% of fashion consumers say they have researched a brand online to assess its level of sustainability, and almost a quarter (23%) of those surveyed claim to have re-purchased from a fashion brand based on its sustainability credentials.

Commenting on the survey findings, Arco Berkenbosch, VP of innovation and development at Smurfit Kappa, said: “Consumers want online fashion brands to act responsibly and consider the social and environmental impacts of their businesses. Fashion brands, and indeed all brands, need to adapt to consumer demands on sustainability or they risk losing customers’ business.

“Across the four markets surveyed, consumer sentiment and focus on sustainability is consistent, highlighting the growing appetite from European consumers that brands should continue to prioritise and commit to improving their practices in sustainability even during the current economic crisis.”

A majority of those surveyed stated the efficient use of materials (62%), the use of sustainable materials (61%), and seeing a brand’s sustainability credentials (56%) contribute to a positive impression of their online purchase once they receive their package. Two-thirds of consumers (66%) believe online fashion retailers are responsible for ensuring their packaging is sustainable.