During my graduate research assistantship, I collaborated with another graduate student to explore Millennial consumers’ perceptions of socially responsible product attributes (SRPA) (i.e. no sweat label, fair wages, safe work environment, etc.) and the decision-making process of purchasing USA Made versus Foreign Made apparel.
Millennials, the largest consumer group in U.S. history, have enormous buying power, thus studying them is of great interest. A focus group was conducted using snowball sampling where the participants were university students between the ages of 18 and 35. Qualitative data analysis identified themes in the participants’ responses.
Millennial consumers were specifically interested in satisfying TPAs (i.e. price, quality and fit) before they were willing to consider the social responsibility aspect of either USA or Foreign Made apparel products. However, when it came to choosing a USA Made vs. Foreign Made apparel product, their world-mindedness overshadowed concerns about the domestic economy.
Foreign Made products were considered socially responsible in that their production supports the marginalized workforce overseas. The contradicting findings of this exploratory study and the relevant literature warrant further investigation of Millennial consumers’ complex consumption preferences.
(Presented at 2015 International Textile and Apparel Association Conference) To download the proceeding, click here.
To download the peer-reviewed paper inspired from this preliminary research, click here.