Instant Gratification Transforms the Fashion Industry

Updated: Nov 25, 2019

The Internet and e-commerce have forever changed the way people shop for goods and services. In the online environment, consumers have unlimited access to products and retailers – each offering their wares for purchase at the click of a button, and delivery one to two days later.

This unfettered access and the numerous options it provides drive customers to expect and demand more from their shopping experiences. Today’s consumer is conditioned for instant gratification, and this expectation is drastically changing how manufacturers in the fashion industry approach the production process.

In this post, we will explore the top three ways in which consumers’ need for instant gratification is transforming the fashion world.

Demand for quick delivery

In the age of one-day and even two-hour delivery, consumers have become accustomed to not only ordering products quickly and easily without ever having to leave their home, they also expect those products to arrive literally overnight.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted a study examining the effects of technology that allows for instant delivery among other conveniences. The study sums up the impacts with a concise warning: “Negative effects include a need for instant gratification and loss of patience.”

For retailers, this lack of patience and need for instant gratification among a significant portion of consumers has served as both an alarming trend and motivation for retailers to meet the customer’s demands – however extreme – through the aforementioned instant delivery standards.

For the fashion industry – which often relies on suppliers, distributors, retailers and other stops in the process – meeting customer demand can prove challenging.

Must have the hottest trend now, before quickly moving on to “the next big thing”

While staying up-to-date on the latest and emerging trends was a privilege once limited to fashion insiders, today the Internet provides consumers with access to information on “what’s hot” in essentially real time, regardless of location or standing in the fashion world.

Information on the latest trends combined with the need for instant gratification creates a consumer who must have the hottest trending style immediately. However, like many things, styles and trends are fleeting. Just as quickly as he or she demanded yesterday’s style, the eager consumer will move on to tomorrow’s “next big thing.” While this is certainly not a new phenomenon, the Internet has provided access on the latest fashion trends to a much broader audience. Now fashion-conscious shoppers in Iowa can be just as “in the know” as those perusing Los Angeles boutiques, which ultimately drives demand and sales for those in the fashion industry.

Trend-heavy purchases demand fast production turn over

Naturally, a customer base that immediately demands the latest fashions is disruptive to the traditional production model used by most brands in the fashion industry. In response, design and production processes must be shortened in order to not only deliver products in a speedy fashion, but also to ensure customers receive their styles before they quickly fall out of fashion.

Throughout this journey of improved throughput and revamped processes, customers’ expectations in terms of quality remain – presenting yet another challenge for those in the fashion industry.

Time is of the essence

If there is one theme running through these specific ways instant gratification is changing the fashion industry, it is time and the importance of speed in responding to customers’ demands, while also staying ahead of the fashion curve.


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