Sep 10, 2019
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Sustainability, price and no debt are key for young UK fashion shoppers - YouGov

Sep 10, 2019

UK Millennials want to buy more sustainable fashion but frequently don’t, and the reason is that convenience and price issues get in the way. That’s according to a YouGov study for payments specialist Clearpay that also revealed Amazon as their top online fashion/retail brand and Primark as their offline favourite.

UK Millennials love to shop - Photo: Porapak Apichodilok

The researcher spoke to 2,500 UK consumers and found 49% of Millennials would “prefer ethical clothing above what’s on-trend, and 46% would opt for a single quality item to last.” But their limited disposable income often results in fast-fashion purchases instead, hence their fondness for Amazon and Primark. 

The study also showed that 75% of Millennial and 70% of Generation X consumers see online shopping as the way forward as it makes life easier for them. Despite their love of offline-only Primark, young people strongly prefer to buy clothes and accessories online, with 60% of Millennials having done so in the past six months.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that e-tailers such Boohoo and Asos grab such a big percentage of total fashion sales in the UK Fashion as, for the young consumers they target, fashion really is a key priority. It’s actually second on the spending priority list with going out in first place. On average young people spend £116 per month, half their monthly discretionary income, on clothes. 

Given that this survey was commissioned by deferred, interest-free, payments specialist Clearpay, there was understandably a payments question in the survey and the answers showed that these young shoppers seem to be less comfortable getting into debt to fund their fashion fix than older generations are. In fact, they strongly prefer to pay by debit card than credit card for almost every type of product.

The thought that a big proportion of 13 million UK consumers (that’s how many British Millennials there are, a fifth of the population) wants to avoid debt is basically good news. However, it may not be seen that way by the many retailers that derive a lot of their earnings from the interest charges on their brand store cards.

Millennials’ anti-credit attitude is explained by YouGov as being partly linked to the level of debts they already have. Since the UK government tripled the cost of further education in 2015, increasing numbers of young people have student loans and so are less likely to want to take on more debt to buy fashion.

This also means that Millennials are less likely than the age group just above them (Generation X) to even have a credit card with those aged 35 to 55 being 71% likely to have one and younger consumers only 51%.

“These findings support similar research we’ve done in the US and Australia where, if anything, young people are even less likely to own a credit card than in the UK,” said Carl Scheible, CEO of Clearpay. “The financial crash left scars on all generations and traditional banks and credit providers lost trust. In the UK young people in particular are looking for new ways to budget and make purchases without falling into debt.”

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