University of Tasmania
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Rethinking fast : understanding fast fashion and slow fashion consumers

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posted on 2023-05-28, 01:35 authored by Tsui NgTsui Ng
Today, fashion not only engulfs our daily life but also our environment. Fuelled by globalisation, technological advancement, fierce competition and consumers' need for instant gratification (Djelic & Ainamo 1999; Tokatli 2007; Rahman & Gong 2016), there has been a transformational shift in the way consumers shop, utilize and discard clothing, which has major social and environmental implications (Perry 2018; SBS 2018; Diddi et al. 2019; Liu 2019). Given there is a dearth of research into the context of fast fashion consumers versus slow fashion consumers, the present study aims to bridge this research gap through conducting an exploratory study to examine fast fashion and slow fashion consumers' characteristics, decision-making process as well as their risk perceptions, fashion involvement and purchase intention. This study applies the Engel-Blackwell-Miniard Model (EBM Model) to study the seven major stages of the consumer decision-making process of fast fashion and slow fashion consumers. Additionally, the study attempts to shed light on the specific types of perceived risk associated with fast fashion and slow fashion consumers as well as investigate which dimension of risk perception predicts their fashion involvement and purchase intention. The present study adopted a concurrent nested mixed methods approach to provide a rich assessment and a comprehensive view of fashion consumers' purchase and consumption behaviour. Data for the study were collected by a self-administered online survey through an Australian commercial research panel provider in a national sample of 380 Australian female fashion consumers, aged eighteen years or older. The findings of the study indicated that slow fashion consumers are younger and possess a higher socio-economic status and educational background than fast fashion consumers. In terms of their fashion purchase behaviour, fast fashion consumers purchase fashion more often, purchase impulsively and are more experienced as regular shoppers. Furthermore, results revealed that fast fashion has higher perceived affordability than slow fashion, whereas slow fashion has higher perceived sustainability, durability, social responsibility, design, and quality than fast fashion. The study further revealed that fast fashion and slow fashion consumers act differently during the seven stages of the consumer decision-making process in purchasing fashion. The findings of the study identified that slow fashion consumers possess lower performance risk as well as higher product involvement and purchase decision involvement in their fashion purchases than fast fashion consumers. Given that fast fashion and slow fashion consumers' desire to purchase fashion are triggered by different factors, the study found that purchase intention did not vary by the type of fashion consumption. The findings of this research make a significant contribution to both the body of consumer behaviour and retail marketing knowledge. A major contribution of this study is the development of a conceptual model, based on empirical findings and the consumer decision-making model, which depicts the relationships among the consumer decision-making process, risk perceptions, fashion involvement and purchase intention associated with fast fashion versus slow fashion consumers. From a practical perspective, marketing practitioners can make use of the study's findings as guidelines to identify common motivators across the two groups of fashion consumers to devise appropriate retail marketing strategies and marketing communication tactics to their customers. Additionally, the results of the study can assist fashion retail operators design and implement an optimal shopping experience by addressing identified risks as well as formulating socially and environmentally sustainable practices. Significantly, by understanding fashion consumers' current level of awareness and knowledge about the social and environmental impacts of their apparel purchasing decisions, the findings of this study will allow the fashion industry, policy makers, educators, and community groups to implement environmental and sustainability education programmes and awareness campaigns to facilitate changes in consumers' purchasing behaviour and to promote knowledge and commitment to minimizing the impact of fashion purchases on the environment.


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Copyright 2019 the author

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