Study: Young people increasingly favour responsible and Finnish-made products and services – and female consumers are better informed than males

More and more young people in Finland, especially teenage girls and young women, want to buy ethically and sustainably produced products and services. Although enjoyment and brand recognition are currently more dominant criteria in young people’s decision-making than in adults decisions, in the future this age group will increasingly make their purchasing decisions based on ethical and environmental considerations.

A recent study by the Association for Finnish Work showed that three out of four young people between the ages of 15 and 24 say they prefer to buy products and services that are ethically produced. The consumption-related values and attitudes of this age group were surveyed by the Association for Finnish Work as part of its Key Flag Symbol campaign.

“According to our research, in addition to price and quality, responsibility and domesticity are important factors for young people in making purchasing decisions. However, these two criteria are most important for young female consumers”, says Association for Finnish Work’s research manager Jokke Eljala.

Four out of five consumers in Finland choose domestic products and service providers whenever possible. Practically all the respondents in the age group surveyed (99 per cent) were familiar with the Key Flag Symbol.

“As many as 67 per cent of young people under the age of 25 are willing to pay more for Finnish products, and 68 per cent said their purchasing decisions are influenced by the Key Flag Symbol. It is also very encouraging that young people see Key Flag Symbol products and services as ethically and sustainably produced, with a strong local focus”, says the Association for Finnish Work’s marketing manager Reetta Mentu.

Environmental considerations increasingly influence purchases

Most of the participants in the study aged 18 or over believe that the issue of companies paying their taxes in Finland will become an increasingly important factor in purchasing decisions in the future. Respondents in the 15–17 age group in particular felt that environmental factors will come to play a greater role in purchasing decisions. Significantly more female than male respondents believed that production factors relating to environmental sustainability will have a growing impact.

“In the future, Finnish companies should be increasingly aware of their environmental responsibilities. More and more young adults are placing increasing emphasis on issues related to ethics and the environment in their purchasing decisions”, Eljala says.

Young consumers go for known brands and enjoyment

The study also confirms that consumers in the 15–24 age range place more importance than their elders on the enjoyment of purchasing and on the image they present of themselves by buying a certain product or brand. Around 72 per cent of the respondents said that enjoyment is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. The importance of this factor decreases sharply with age: for consumers over the age of 25, the corresponding figure is 33 per cent.

More than half of the respondents in the 15–24 age group answered that the brand image of a product is important or very important to them, compared to only a quarter of respondents between the ages of 25 and 79.

“Young people stand out from older generations particularly with regard to how much importance they place on the enjoyment of buying a product in making their purchase decision. Older consumers place more importance on rational rather than emotional factors. Young people are also branding themselves with the brands they choose. Brand is a highly important factor for young people in purchasing decisions for products and services no matter where in Finland they live”, says Mentu.

“Young people want to make responsible choices. The Key Flag Symbol is the symbol of Finnish work, and both young people and the older generations can reliably recognise products that have been made in Finland”.

The survey was commissioned by the Association for Finnish Work and carried out by the Taloustutkimus economic research institute in March 2019. Of the 2,149 respondents, 925 were in the 15–24 age group.

More information:

Jokke Eljala, research manager, Association for Finnish Work, tel. +358 50 374 7410,

Reetta Mentu, marketing manager, Association for Finnish Work, tel. +358 50 561 5030

The Key Flag Symbol is the symbol of Finnish work. It can be granted for products made in Finland and for services provided in Finland by a Finnish-owned company. A total of over 4,350 products or services already carry the Key Flag Symbol. The marking is awarded by the Association for Finnish Work. The Key Flag Symbol campaign is a joint initiative of the Association for Finnish Work and the participating companies.