UK fashion market on the up, but discounting dampens growth
The UK clothing, footwear and accessories market generated £68.2 billion in 2015, rising by 4.2% according to new research from Mintel.
Although shoes, clothing and accessories are the UK’s top treat for British consumers, widespread discounting has impacted the market, resulting in weaker sales growth in 2015 as people become accustomed to buying clothes on sale or special offer.
Further, the number of womenswear retailers on the high street presented a big issue on the clothing sector, found Mintel.
“The womenswear market is becoming increasingly overcrowded,” said Tamara Sender, Senior Fashion Analyst, “and as consumer expectations of better-fitting products and the shopping experience rise, retailers are having to up their game and do more to stand out from the competition. The winning retailers will be those that combine innovation with a compelling product offering.”
Overall consumer spending on clothing slowed in 2015 with sales rising by only 4%, compared to 4.6% the previous year.
“An ageing population will mean that retailers will need to adapt to a new reality where older age groups exert more influence on the clothing sector and to encourage higher levels of spending among over-45s by ensuring that they cater to their needs with more flattering clothes in larger sizes and a wider range of fits to suit all body shapes,” added Tamara Sender.
In the last 12 months, the men’s clothing market (+4.1%) grew at a faster rate than womenswear (+3.7%), reaching £14.1billion. Menswear now accounts for 25%of the total clothing market and is forecast to grow by 23% over the next five years to reach £17.3.
The footwear market outperformed the clothing market with sales growth of 6.5% in 2015 to £10.3 billion. The market is expected to continue to see robust growth as specialist footwear retailers are forced to up their game amid competition.
Mintel’s British Lifestyles 2016 research also found that the handbag market saw a slower growth in 2015 with sales up by only 5.3% to £1.4 billion, compared to a 9% increase in 2014. The luxury segment is facing tough times as designer brands struggle to make profits amid the challenging economic environment, while an increasing number of consumers are now showing a preference for mid-priced handbags.
The trend for man bags has continued with more retailers expanding their ranges into men’s bags.
Meanwhile, the jewellery market grew by only 1.2% in 2015 as the precious metal jewellery category suffered from a shift towards lighter-weight pieces.
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