Exploring the Gap between Consumers' Sustainable Attitudes and Behaviors in Fast Fashion: A Case Study on H&M

Natalia Ikonomou

Student thesis: Master thesis


Recently increased concerns about environmental issues have resulted in consumers urging corporations to take sustainable actions. Paradoxically, empirical data show that individuals fail to keep pace themselves, highlighting a gap between consumers’ sustainable attitudes and behavior. Academic literature has investigated the reasons behind this issue in fashion, yet, no study has investigated whether this attitude-behavior gap applies to consumers interacting with a conventional brand that offers sustainable options. The research objective is to discover whether the gap exists amongst H&M’s customers, which the study’s findings evidently verify, and highlight its grounds with the support of relevant theories. The paper also aims to connect the academic explanation of the issue with practical tactics that can mitigate this gap. For this purpose of reaching the objective, empirical data are obtained through semi-structured interviews with a number of H&M’s customers, while observations of the brand’s stores and secondary sources are also included in the analysis, in order to verify the interview findings and their interpretation. The key results showcase the existence of such a gap, while its primary underlying reason is discovered to be the brand’s poor communication of its initiatives. This is shown to lead to a significant lack of information and various misconceptions on the topic amongst its customers, which discourage them from supporting the brand’s initiatives. Based on these findings, and guided by the nudge theory, relevant strategies are suggested to H&M for the minimization of this attitude-behavior gap.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages98
SupervisorsKarin Tollin