The Problems with Sale Culture

I recently read an article posted on The Fashion Law about sale culture and the problems brands like Gap are having selling more full priced items and less sales. After a recent report from First Insight (here), it was found that consumers do not expect to pay full price for clothing anymore. Retailers have been enticing their consumers by offering major sales for holidays such as Black Friday, Labor Day and Memorial day. Like I mentioned in a previous blog post, retailers have turned these holidays into consumer holidays where they offer extreme deals to get people into their stores and spend money.

The biggest issue with this is that it has conditioned consumers to seek out these sales rather than buying things full price. The study from First Insight found that 45% of women have to see a discount of 41% or above to even consider going into a store. That is so ridiculous to me!! We are training ourselves to compromise quality over the price. No one cares what the real value of what their purchasing is anymore. The consumer’s thought process simply goes

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And I would say that a majority of people do not even think about anything further than the price while shopping. I deal with this first hand everyday at my retail job. Even when an item is already a relatively good price, customers will choose against it only because it is not on sale.

These sale shopping habits just create a vicious cycle of scouting out “good deals”  and closing people off to shopping at stores that do not showcase low prices. You can shop at Forever21 or H&M and think you are saving so much money but then you also have to consider the quantity and true value of what you are buying. What is the point of owning 10 shirts from H&M at $10 each? You would have spent $100 right there for shirts that are not going to even last you until the next sale holiday. Fast fashion brands are really just playing a trick to make people think that they are getting great deals and saving so much money on clothes. The problem is these clothes are not created with the intent to last.

As consumers, it is important to look at the big picture of things. It is okay to invest a little bit more in your clothing. Splurge on that $50 basic white top from a company that focuses on sustainability because in the long run you are going to end up spending that plus more on the 10 basic white tops you had to buy this year to replace your favorite one after it was not quite the same after washing it.

I get it though, it is hard to choose to spend the extra cash when you can easily stumble into a fast fashion store and feel like you did not even spend anything. In a previous post I created a list of the best ethically made clothing stores that have a great sale section. Ethically made stores have sales sections; they also oftentimes offer discounts just for signing up for their newsletter too. You can still be a sale addict while shopping ethically, but I can promise you the difference when shopping ethically is that you actually are getting a good deal.

Articles mentioned:

The Fashion Law: http://www.thefashionlaw.com/home/can-gap-inc-retrain-the-discount-expecting-consumer


First insight: http://www.firstinsight.com/press-releases/first-insight-reveals-consumer-markdown-mania-and-its-effect-on-retailers