Sustainable fashion is not for the masses. This is one of the results ascertained by Simon-Kucher’s Global Sustainability Study.

In fact, especially consumers from the DACH area of Germany, Austria and Switzerland when buying clothing and shoes, they look first at price and durability. Then they consider product quality and whether the items are easy to care for and ethically produced.

In the purchasing criteria ranking, "sustainability" is relatively far behind in fifth place.

These are some of the most evident results from the research carried ahead by Simon-Kucher, a global consultancy company operating in 30 countries and counting on 37 years of experience in consumer, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, as well as technology and media.

The study was conducted between July and August 2022 in cooperation with the independent market research institute Dynata and involved more than 11,000 consumers in 19 countries worldwide surveyed on their purchasing behavior and their willingness to pay for sustainability.


The key data from the DACH region pointed out that sustainability is a secondary topic, according to Nina Scharwenka, a partner in Simon-Kucher's Consumer Goods & Retail Practice.

“Consumers who buy sustainable clothing also pay primary attention to the durability of the products. Thirty-seven percent of customers rate durability as important, and 45% rate of the sample it as very important,” she explained. "Durability is also the most important criterion for sustainable fashion. It is important to place products with a long service life appropriately prominently. And Patagonia appeared to be as a good example among brands that pursue such conduct,” she continued.

According to the study, 64% of the surveyed consumers would not pay a premium over standard items. "However, those who invest in sustainable clothing or footwear often spend significantly more. On average, customers are willing to pay a full 20% more,” explained Jens Stach, senior manager in Simon-Kucher's Consumer Goods & Retail Practice. "More than every tenth customer even accepts surcharges of 50% and more. This means sustainable fashion can become a profitable business even with a small target group,” he added.


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