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Why Antimicrobial Agent Certification is Crucial for Consumer Satisfaction

Smelly workout clothes are one of the biggest turnoffs for consumers. With proper antimicrobial agent certification, however, retailers can keep shoppers satisfied with their activewear products.

“One thing unique about the freshness feature is that it could drive consumer loyalty,” said International Antimicrobial Council (IAC) managing director Jim Krueger at a Texworld USA panel in New York last week. “Especially with performance apparel, everyone expects that it is going to have moisture management in it.”

Today, consumers are spending more than $3 billion yearly in post treatment odor control products. A 2013 study also indicated that 90 percent of shoppers that use textiles with an odor control feature will more likely buy apparel with the same capabilities. It isn’t just about comfort or functionality—freshness is a top priority for consumers that purchase active apparel.

According to Krueger, odor has a long-term impact on consumer behavior. When a consumer puts on a pair of running shorts or yoga shirt, the sight and feel of the garment goes straight to the hypothalamus of the brain. Odor on the other hand, goes all the way to the body’s limbic system. Should the garment stink and not stay fresh, the consumer is more likely to remember this and avoid buying products that don’t have sufficient odor control.

To skirt this dilemma, Krueger suggested retailers check for certification before choosing antimicrobials agents, including chitosan and n-Halamines (Chlorine). International regulatory compliance is a mandatory requirement for most antimicrobial agents. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors antimicrobials to ensure they are safe for human use. Other global authorities, including the EU’s Biocidal Products Regulation, also oversee antimicrobial agents for potential harmful effects. Other non-profit organizations, including IAC, also regulate antimicrobial agents and provide testing to ensure odor control capabilities remain efficient for apparel products.

As the activewear industry continues to reign consumer wardrobes, odor-control isn’t an option for retailers. With the proper antimicrobial agent certification, retailers can ensure their activewear apparel stays fresh and keep consumers satisfied in the long run.