Greenwashing – when businesses portray their products, services or operations as being more eco-friendly or environmentally sustainable than they can credibly establish – is increasingly under the spotlight in Singapore.
According to a study released by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) last November, around 51% of products listed across 100 e-commerce websites made vague and unsubstantiated claims about their purported environmental benefits.
But to what extent do concerns about environmental sustainability guide consumer purchases in Singapore, at present?
In this three-part series, we unpack YouGov’s latest study on the Sustainable Fashion Landscape in Singapore, exploring consumer attitudes to environmental-friendly clothing, trust in brands’ sustainability claims and views on greenwashing.
In Part 1, we reveal the percentage of Singapore consumers who have purchased sustainable fashion products before – and what’s deterring those who haven’t.
How common are sustainable fashion purchases in Singapore?
Latest research from YouGov Surveys shows that over one in three (36%) consumers say they have purchased one or more sustainable fashion products before – defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are designed, manufactured, distributed, and used in an ecologically and socially responsible manner (e.g. products made from recycled/organic materials) – or at least claim to be.
Demographically, there isn’t a significant difference between the proportion of women and men who have purchased sustainable fashion products before. However, younger consumers are much more likely than older consumers to have done so: at least two in five of Gen Z and Millennials indicate ever buying sustainable fashion, compared a third of Gen X and just a fifth of Baby Boomers.
What’s deterring some Singaporeans from buying sustainable fashion to date?
Among consumers who have not purchased any sustainable fashion items so far, over two-thirds (68%) cite general availability issues – difficulty in finding or not knowing where to find such products – as the top reason for why they have yet to buy eco-friendly apparel.
Additionally, more than half (56%) point to sustainably-produced fashion items carrying higher price tags – the next most popular reason.
Meanwhile, under a fifth (18%) say they are sceptical of the sustainability claims made by fashion brands, while 13% think they are less fashionable and 10% are concerned about their quality / durability.
This article is part of our three-part Sustainable Fashion Landscape in Singapore series, exploring consumer attitudes to environmental-friendly clothing, trust in brands’ sustainability claims and views on greenwashing. Explore the full study below:
Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online in January 2024, with a national sample of 1,018 Singapore residents, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, and ethnicity to be representative of all adults in Singapore (18 years or older) and reflect the latest Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS) estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.
Cover photo by Tang Ming Tung