Key consumer insights on vegan fashion

Consumer Insights

Welcome to our new guide on consumer insights.

In this edition, you will find the most important consumer insights on vegan fashion, specifically:

  • Consumer perception of vegan fashion and preferences
  • How to win consumer trust with three easy steps
  • A practical example of how to put consumer insights into practice

Now it’s time to share what we discovered.

Key consumer insights on vegan fashion

Vegan fashion is no longer a niche market.

Consumers are massively adopting vegan diets, which affects not only food but also non-food products; hence, the vegan fashion market is experiencing broad market growth.

However, vegans aren’t the only ones pushing for vegan fashion: environmentalists and general consumers are just as aware of animal cruelty in the fashion industry. This, alongside many political bans on the fur/leather industry, has strengthened the vegan fashion market.

Take a look at the annual fur production decrease from 2014 to 2021*:

Annual fur production decrease
Measured in units produced

As consumers are more aware, the sales of products involving animal cruelty in fashion will likely decrease.

Let’s take a deeper look and see the consumer perception of vegan fashion**.

Consumer perception of vegan fashion

Consumers are smart; they know what’s going on in the fashion industry. Take a look at this graph:

Awareness by consumers of animal cruelty in the fashion industry
Source: Statista

In most countries, more than half of the population knows about the cruelty in the fashion industry. It is particularly noteworthy in Austria and Switzerland, where 83-84% of the population are aware, making these countries a clear target for brands looking to offer their vegan fashion items.

So, does being aware translate into a preference for vegan fashion items over animal-based ones?

Percentage of consumers who prefer brands that prioritize animal welfare
Source: Statista

The answer is pretty positive, as we can see. 

Again, Switzerland and Austria are in the lead with half of the population preferring vegan fashion over animal-based fashion. The good news is that, in the countries with lesser results, still a third of their population would prefer vegan fashion products.

And even some consumers have completely stopped purchasing animal-based fashion products:

Percentage of consumers who avoid animal-based fashion
Source: Statista

Quick fact86% of consumers would like to start buying more cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics products

The tendency is clear: consumers are increasingly embracing vegan fashion and rejecting the old fashion ways. And old school brands have also noticed this change: top fashion companies like Gucci and Versace have reportedly pledged to stop using real fur. 

It’s never been a better time to take advantage of the vegan fashion wave.

Therefore, it’s time to explore some more consumer insights.

Next-Gen Materials: consumer preferences

Brands marketing a vegan fashion product will find this interesting: 

When referring to the alternative ingredients of a vegan fashion product, these are the top preferred names by U.S. consumers.

Preferred names for next-gen materials by U.S. consumers
Source: Statista

As we can see, the top two are “Eco materials” and “Animal-free materials”, highlighting the importance that consumers attach to environmental and animal welfare claims.

Extra tip for producers

When marketing your vegan fashion product, don’t appeal just to vegans, but also to environmentalists. Here’s one quick tip to reach environmentalists:

Studies*** show that when communicating about alternative leather or fur, it’s better to not use the words fake leather or fake fur. Instead, use vegan leather/fur.

The main reason behind this is that fake leather/fur is highly associated with plastic, which is considered harmful to the environment, whereas the word vegan is more associated with being natural and biodegradable. 

So, it’s recommended to use the word “vegan” instead of “fake” when referring to leather or fur to appeal to both of these consumers.

It’s also good to know that U.S. consumers are willing to purchase next-gen materials (or, as they prefer, eco-materials). Let’s check the percentages depending on the technology used to craft these next-gen materials:

Percentage of U.S. consumers willing to buy next-gen materials
Source: Statista

Depending on the technology used, percentages can go from half of U.S. consumers to one-third, which speaks highly of consumer intent. We can expect even higher percentages in other countries with more awareness of vegan fashion. 

How to win consumer trust

Transparency is key.

Consumers want to know what they are buying. Brands should show what their products are made of, how they are made, and why it is sustainable.

  1. What they are made of: consumers want to know what materials have been used to create the product. What technology has been used? What ingredient has been made out of it? Brands should answer these questions as a starting point in winning consumer trust.
  2. How they are made: Where do these ingredients come from? Are they locally sourced? Are they fair-traded? Emphasis on the manufacturing processes and supply chains will help consumers understand the brand is committed not only to animal welfare but to sustainability and fair labor, too. Informing consumers that your brand is more ethical than the competitor’s will give you a market advantage.
  3. Why it’s sustainable: To inform consumers about their environmentally-friendly practices, certain companies showcase their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) reports on the sustainability section of their website. This allows consumers to receive messaging that highlights the social and environmental sustainability aspects of a brand’s products, indicating that their clothing has a lesser impact on the environment compared to competitors.

Quick fact: 78% of consumers worldwide generally trust products with the V-Label symbol more than products without it.

Let’s take a look at some good practices on how to win consumer trust in the vegan fashion industry.

Practical example: PUMA

In our practical example section for today’s newsletter, we will talk about how PUMA puts some of these consumer insights into practice with their vegan shoes.

Puma and V-Label

First, PUMA communicates what materials and technology go into making the vegan shoe and the benefits of it:

PUMA explains benefits of vegan material
Announcement of new PUMA’s KING Platinum football boot (February 2022)

PUMA explains the vegan leather used in new football boot
Announcement of new PUMA’s KING football boot (March 2023)

They also emphasize their commitment to animal welfare and sustainability by stating that their future products will no longer use animal-based materials. They provide packaging insights as well to let the consumer know about their efforts to make it more sustainable.

Sustainability explained by PUMA

Apart from talking about the specifics of their vegan football boots and packaging, they make some ethical statements on their website, helping consumers learn about how their products will contribute to the environment and human rights.

Sustainability explained by PUMA

And as expected, they have a CSR where they display their future targets:

Sustainability targets explained by PUMA

Our advice: Take every chance you have to make the consumer know your brand is making all the efforts possible to become a more ethical product, either by removing animal-based materials or by making the products more environmentally friendly—or maybe even by doing both.

Now it’s your turn

We really hope you enjoyed our new consumer insights guide.  If you want to learn more about this topic, we have a white paper on the key innovations and market numbers of the vegan non-food segment.

And now we’d like to hear from you.

Which consumer insight from today’s guide did you find the most useful?

What technology would you use for your vegan product? In which country would you market it?

Either way, let us know by leaving a quick comment below.

See you in the next guide.

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List of Resources

*Data from Humane Society International/Europe was used for the decreasing use of fur stat. 

**Data on consumer perception and next-gen materials was extracted from Statista

***Other studies used:

Ethical Consumers’ Awareness of Vegan Materials: Focused on Fake Fur and Fake Leather

Sustainability Practices and Implications of Fashion Brands at the Vegan Fashion Week