In our recent update of our value-based segmentation study the Informed Consumer, we discovered a noteworthy segment in Finland – the Optimists – constituting 22% of Finnish consumers. The Makers in Sweden, although not a new segment, has grown from 14% (2019) to 20% (2023). It was surprising to find a new, significant segment in Finland that is so similar to the Swedish Makers.

Both segments present an opportunity for businesses, despite the challenge of their somewhat unpredictable behavior.

The Optimists are the youngest group among informed consumers in Finland, with 52% of them being under 34 years old. In Sweden, the Makers are an even younger group, with 62% falling below the age of 34. Both segments are more male-oriented.

Reflecting the individualistic era we live in, the Optimists and the Makers are ambitious about their lives, and they place a high value on success and performance. They like to stand out from the crowd and place a high value on aesthetics. For example, brands such as Frama, Smeg, and Missoni Home could appeal to this segment based on their unique design. These segments don’t want to live a mundane life; instead, they want to take risks and try new things. In addition, they value quality and are willing and able to spend money on such products or even on luxury items.

“One good example that reflects these consumer groups is the current sneaker trend”

It’s not just about buying sneakers; for many young people, it has turned into a hobby and is perceived as a kind of investment and a way to stand out. Overall, the global luxury goods market has managed to grow despite economic uncertainties, according to a study by Bain & Company (2022). These trends reflect how personal expression and unique interests persist, even in the face of economic challenges.

However, the behavior of the Optimists and the Makers isn’t consistent in their consumption choices – they make compromises and balance decisions based on the situation. For example, while they acknowledge the importance of sustainability, they won’t compromise experiences for it. Therefore, they might prioritize sustainability in some scenarios and trendiness in others, depending on the situation and mood.

Checklist for brands that want to resonate with the Optimists and the Makers
  1. Identify Strengths and Consumer Needs: Understand the critical qualities that distinguish your brand, product, or service. Simultaneously, assess the significance of these aspects to the consumer.
  2. Positioning: Determine the most relevant market position from an individual perspective. Align your brand with values that resonate with hedonistic and performance-driven ideals and support consumers in embracing their uniqueness. Take Arc’teryx, PasNormal, and Satisfy for instance – these sport brands succeed in communicating unique, performance-driven values with clear positioning.
  3. Empathy: Explore ways to help consumers stay true to their values. Can your brand play a more influential role in supporting their aspirations and lifestyle choices? Patagonia is a good example of advocating strongly for environmental issues and helping people not to make compromises between their values.

By embracing the nuances of these segments, brands can establish connections that resonate personally with the Optimists and the Makers, creating a more authentic and relatable presence in the market.

What is the Informed Consumer Study?

The Informed Consumer is an extensive research conducted by Kuudes, which focuses on consumers’ values, attitudes, and motivations. We use the research as a practical segmenting tool when designing user-centric product- and service concepts and a better customer experience.

Kuudes has been conducting the Informed Consumer study since 2008. The most recent study was done in April-May 2023 by updating the data using both quantitative methods (an online survey with a sample size of N=1000 in both Finland and Sweden) and qualitative methods (N=9 interviews). The data has been used to form eight segments of Finnish consumers and nine segments of Swedish consumers, each with different values, expectations, and ways of relating to life or consumption.

Read more about the study and download the report here. If you’re curious about how research can be utilized in your business, please reach out to Terhi Hyvönen. We’re here to help and explore the possibilities together.


Terhi Hyvönen, Senior Insight Specialist