Swiss consumers care about sustainability in the fashion industry

17 March 2020

In its first consumer behavior report of the year, the Netcomm Suisse Observatory was examining the shopping behavior of Swiss-based online shoppers in the fashion industry. Among others the online questionnaire focused on the frequency and expenditures for fashion purchases, the demand of Swiss consumers for products from abroad, and their openness and adoption of new service models such as omnichannel services and subscription programs.

The study also included questions on sustainability in the fashion industry highlighting that a large share is paying attention to the topic. Further, Swiss consumers seem to be rather critical as the brand image is not the primary criteria for identifying a product as sustainable.

The study, that is sponsored by Swiss Post and Asendia, reveals these key insights:

  • People mostly buy clothes from the current collection when shopping online. Most online shoppers buy products from multibrand sites and mostly spend on average between CHF 26 and CHF 100 per purchase.
  • Most of the survey participants are shopping abroad, mainly driven by cost savings but also looking for more exclusive products and collections.
  • Smartphones are the device of choice for fashion purchases. The sample highlights an age divide in device use: while young consumers prefer smartphones, older participants complete their purchases on PCs.
  • More than half of the sample is already using omnichannel services such as click and collect. Men, younger than 55 years, represent the main user group.
  • e-Commerce subscription programs in general are used by about 30% of the sample. Subscriptions for fashion and apparel products are only used by about 9% of the survey participants, with a further 14% planning to use them in the future.
  • Our sample contains a small part of people who are using digital technologies such as virtual reality for supporting their fashion purchases, while a large part of the sample is open to start using such applications.
  • The majority of the sample pays attention to sustainability when shopping fashion online. Sustainability will become even more important in the coming years. Swiss consumers pay attention to the following criteria when considering fashion products as sustainable:

Speaking about fashion as a lifestyle, Patrick Wolf, Business Development Manager at our sponsor Asendia Switzerland, states: "Fashion is more than a core need. It’s not only about keeping us warm. With fashion, we can express ourselves - we can be creative." Expressing unique creativity leads consumers to buy from international sites: "Cross-Border eCommerce provides the tools to source fashion from all over the world: it enables us to buy special running shoes in size 49 in the US; it enables us to support a purpose by sourcing a handmade merino scarf from Peru; it enables us to buy a crazy handbag made for bottle caps. Vice versa, niche markets like Switzerland punch way over their weight when it comes to population, which offers great potential for merchants."

Optimize your international logistics and find your perfect fit:

The full version – free for all Netcomm Suisse members - and a free preview can be found here:

The report was created in close collaboration with AperaMente.


Research methodology:

  • Computer-assisted web interviews (CAWI)
  • 201 completed surveys of Swiss-based online shoppers
  • Interview length: 15 minutes

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