Finnish consumers are buying more clothes but spending less on their purchases, according to the Finnish Fashion and Sports Commerce Association (TMA).
Clothing sales volumes grew a few percent in Finland in 2018 over the previous year, but the value of overall sales dropped by about one percent. Fashion industry group TMA attributes the trend to weak buying power.
While the environmental cost of fast fashion and textile waste has made headlines in recent years, sales figures point to residents in Finland preferring bargains over eco-conscious designs - despite climate change being top of the mind for some voters in the general election this spring.
”Working people buy what they can afford,” said Veli-Matti Kankaanpää of TMA.
Niko Pesonen, a buyer for the Stockmann department store, said online sellers have exerted downward pressure on prices, but said he believed the retailer's upscale clientele valued quality over quantity.
Kankaanpää of the industry lobby took a pragmatic view.
”Social media buzz doesn’t impact sales. Campaigns to buy less are limited to a small circle,” Kankaanpää explained. ”But Finns in general are frugal. They will use something until it wears out and will pass it on if it’s not threadbare.”
The total value of shoe and clothing sales in Finland last year was 3.3 billion euros, down from 3.6 billion in 2013, according to TMA.
A study by the Finnish Commerce Federation last year found that residents' favourite places to shop for clothing included Prisma and K-Citymarkets, H&M, discount chain Tokmanni and online retailer Zalando.