A recent consumer survey shows that young adults are as they have always been; chasing trends but not spending a lot of money. However, millennials seem pretty keen on doing this sustainably – even paying a premium for it. Only problem is that they don’t exactly know where and how.

This consumer survey was made for Spinnova by an international group of students from the University of Applied Sciences of Jyväskylä, Finland. The survey was made online last winter, with respondents from seven European countries, mostly Czech and France. The total number of respondents was 283.

Check out the survey results now!

82% of replies to the survey came from under 18 to 30 year-olds.

Hence, the findings can be mostly associated with this millenial and post-millenial majority age group.

Respondent Age


44% of the respondents go clothes shopping monthly. However, an even larger proportion, 45%, only shops for fashion either once in three months or more seldom.

This kind of shopping frequency might be a sign of increasing awareness of the effects of our own behavior as consumers and how that burdens the environment.

 How often do you go shopping?

52% shop in “trendy” shops, only 9% would even look second hand. As many as 20% say they shop in “cheap” shops.

It’s rather surprising to find second hand shopping so unpopular, as pre-owned items are very easy to find both in shops and online market places these days. 


What kind of shops do you prefer?


Only 15% of respondents know brands or shops that sell sustainable clothes.

This is definitely an awareness problem. There is willingness to make better choices, but not much is happening as consumers don’t know where to shop for sustainable items. 

Do you know brands or shops that sell sustainable items?


Good news for designers; 51% base their buying decision on design, only 25% on price. Only 18% consider quality an important feature of a purchase, and a shockingly small number, 3% base their buying decision on sustainability.

This seems like an indication of an awareness problem that’s shown below. If consumers don’t get as much information as they would need on sustainable items, they cannot base their buying decision on those facts.

What do you base your buying decision on?

67% don’t care about the origin of their clothes, i.e. where it’s made and how. This is quite surprising, considering the fact that overall awareness of the textile industry’s problems has increased in the past few years. 

56% do care about the composition of their clothes, i.e. the material of the items, but how that affects buying decisions is another story.

Are you concerned with the origins of your clothes?

51% of the same respondents, a vast majority of which just said no to making buying decisions based on sustainability, are interested in sustainability of their clothes. 

Are you interested in the sustainability of your clothes?


61% would pay more for a sustainable product.

This is a great result, considering that the respondents are mostly young people don’t have a lot of spending power. This is also great news for someone like us, developing sustainable alternatives, and for all brands who are investing time and money in comprehensive sustainability programmes.

Would you pay more for a sustainable item?


As many as 41% of respondents would be ready to pay a whopping 20-40% premium on a sustainable item. Then again, a 54% majority said they would only pay 20% or less (so it’s likely that some of them would not pay a premium per se).

This is nonetheless great news on the overall willingness to make better choices. 

How much more would you pay for a sustainable item?


Finally, we asked if the respondent group would be interested in our fibre, which was introduced to them briefly. Considering the fact that our fibre, its properties and sustainability story was not known among the respondents at all, a majority of 52% would nonetheless be interested in it.

Would you be interested in fashion made of Spinnova’s sustainable fibre?

The survey result is encouraging to someone like us, developing sustainable alternatives, and brands who are investing time and money in sustainability programmes.

The fact that not a lot of sustainability action is being taken by the consumers is just a sign of there not being many feasible options available quite yet. To us, this is a reminder that we’re on the right track with all our efforts,
every day. 

A very special thank you for the survey to the JAMK team; Katerina, Tereza, Francois, Lucie, Clara, Abhay, Abdelhafidand, their tutor Markus, and all respondents for taking the time.

Was this food for thought? Let us know what you think!