The key to confidence: Millennials, parents, and textile sustainability

The OEKO-TEX® Association has published the next round of findings from “The Key To Confidence: Consumers and Textile Sustainability—Attitudes, Changing Behaviors, and Outlooks” focused on Millennials and Parents. The latest report profiles two of the most powerful consumer groups in the global textile market who will influence those markets for decades to come.

The results will be publicized in a series of webinars and presentations over the next several months. A recorded webinar presented by “The Key To Confidence” researcher, Ellen Karp of Anerca, is now available at

“The Key To Confidence” online study was conducted in the second half of 2017 with a worldwide sample of more than 11,000 clothing and home textile consumers. Of the total sample, approximately 30% fell into the age group born between 1981-2000, otherwise known as Millennials, in line with the global population. In the second round of findings, OEKO-TEX® shares how Millennials think differently about textile sustainability and how parenthood affects those attitudes. 

For example, due to their internet and social media usage, Millennials are more aware of the textile industry’s environmental and social shortcomings than older respondents. They are more inclined to consider the textile industry to be a major polluter. As a result, Millennials are much more concerned about harmful substances in their clothing and home textile products. 

Parenthood tends to intensify worries about all things. Parents of young children in particular voice concerns about harmful substances in a wide variety of products, but especially in home textiles and apparel. Parents’ product safety qualms outpace the concerns of non-parents.

Their awareness of and reported purchase of “eco-friendly” clothing and home textiles is substantially higher than people without young children in the house. 

Correspondingly, interest in certified textiles is higher with both Millennials and Parents. “Both of these time-starved consumer groups are seeking shortcuts to trust and transparency,” says global brand and sustainability research expert, Ellen Karp. “Millennials and Parents want to do the right thing for society and the planet as well as for their families. Brands and certifiers play important roles in communicating the information that helps these engaged consumers make the responsible purchase decisions they are eager to make.”

“At OEKO-TEX® we are excited to share these findings with our customers and with the textile industry in support of our 25-year mission to help companies and consumers make informed decisions,” says Anna Czerwinska, Head of Marketing and Communication at OEKO-TEX®. “The information reinforces the important role that independent OEKO-TEX® certifications and labels can play in helping Millennials and Parents select sustainable textile products that are better for their families and the planet.”

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