Inderscience Publishers

Is the urban Indian consumer ready for environment-friendly apparel?

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The textile industry is inherently unsustainable, has a wide range of environmental and toxicological impacts and has been condemned as one of the worst offenders on earth in terms of pollution. The textile industry in India has largely been driven by small units which practice age-old methods of bleaching and dyeing, which adversely affect the balance of the local ecology. Given that the role that the consumers may play could be significant in pressuring the industry to introduce clean technology and in demanding 'pollution-free' garments, this paper probes whether urban Indian consumers are ready to make this demand for 'pollution-free' garments. The study concludes that there are three segments of consumers: Green Apparel Consumers, Greener Apparel Consumers and Non-Green Apparel Consumers, of which the Greener Apparel Consumers are ready for environment-friendly clothing and are willing to pay more for such clothing. The demographics of this segment are reported and the strategies managers may adopt to reach out to the other segments after saturating the Greener consumers are discussed. The kinds of apparel for which Greener Consumers are ready to pay higher prices are investigated and the environmental issues that would be effective in communicating to the segments are set forth.

Keywords: urban Indians, environment-friendly apparel, segmentation, willingness to pay, textile industry, India, environmental pollution, pollution-free garments, green apparel, green clothing, environmental impact, green economics

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