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Ethical Clothing - UK - February 2009

Consumer awareness and concern with issues like sustainability and ethical production and trading is higher than it has ever been. This, plus improving availability, is helping to drive up sales of ethical clothing as one aspect of that wider movement.

Despite growth, this remains as yet an undeveloped market, if one with plenty of potential. Mintel estimates that total sales of ethical clothing are currently worth around £175 million (or about 0.4% of total market), which is a little larger than the bridalwear sector and equivalent to almost half of the value sales of hosiery.

Despite growth, this remains as yet an undeveloped market, if one with plenty of potential. Mintel estimates that total sales of ethical clothing are currently worth around £175 million, which is a little larger than the bridalwear sector and equivalent to almost half of the value sales of hosiery. Although tiny in relation to the whole [at less than 1%], major retail players including Marks & Spencer, H&M, Topshop, Sainsburys, Tesco and others are increasingly adding their own ethical ranges which will drive up sales exponentially.

This report focuses on consumer awareness and understanding of ethical clothing and its implications. It also reviews retailer initiatives in clothing, usually as part of their wider corporate strategy. Most centrally the report assesses how this sector is likely to develop, in terms of both consumer and retail behaviour, and whether it can move into the mainstream.

Main report themes
  • What is accelerating the development of this sector?

  • How is the sector rapidly transforming into a fashion-forward choice?

  • Do the consumers understand the ethical issues?

  • Do they care about these issues?

  • Do consumers trust retailers’ claims?

  • What are the main barriers to purchase ethical clothing?

  • How do the retailers’ strategies differ?

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main themes
        • Definition
        • Future Opportunities

          • It’s all about understanding
            • Emphasising the unusual
              • Trusting the label
                • Caring for the environment
                  • Mood from Food (from Inspire trends)
                    • Life After Debt (from Inspire trends)
                    • Market in Brief

                      • Small but growing fast
                        • Burgeoning variety
                          • Promising supply initiatives
                            • Brands and retailers
                              • What consumers think
                                • Future prospects
                                • Internal Market Environment

                                  • Key points
                                    • Market context
                                      • Wider implications
                                        • Do consumers trust the labelling?
                                          • A growing drive to change
                                            • How important is fashion?
                                              • Figure 1: Trends in attitudes towards looks, by gender, 2008
                                            • From hippy to chic
                                              • Fashion and celebrity
                                                • How much do ethics influence behaviour?
                                                  • Figure 2: Ethical attitudes, by gender, 2008
                                                • Potential for behavioural change
                                                  • Figure 3: Factors taken into account when buying food, by demographic group, Fairtrade Foods report, November 2008
                                              • Broader Market Environment

                                                • Key points
                                                  • ABC1s on the up
                                                    • Figure 4: UK population, by socio-economic group, 2003-13
                                                  • Education, education, education
                                                    • Figure 5: Higher Education qualifications obtained in UK, by level of study, 1996/97-2006/07
                                                  • An ageing population
                                                    • Figure 6: Age structure of the UK population, 2003-13
                                                  • A tougher economy
                                                    • Figure 7: Trends in GDP, PDI and consumer expenditure, 2003-13
                                                  • The likely impact on ethical clothing
                                                    • New opportunities online
                                                      • Figure 8: Internet penetration at home/work/place of study or elsewhere, by demographic group and working status, Internet quarterly report, 2003-08
                                                    • Other publicity
                                                    • Competitive Context

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Clothing market sectors
                                                          • Figure 8: Market value of clothing products, 2003-07
                                                        • Ethical beauty
                                                          • Altruism at work
                                                            • More on the scope of the internet
                                                              • Figure 9: Types of websites browsed for information purposes in the last three months, Internet quarterly report, December 2008
                                                          • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                            • Strengths
                                                              • Weaknesses
                                                              • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Technology for sustainability
                                                                    • Recovering and recycling
                                                                      • A new umbrella for sustainable fashion
                                                                        • Ethical fashion goes high profile
                                                                        • Market Value and Forecast

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Small but unlimited potential
                                                                              • An impressive trajectory
                                                                                • Future
                                                                                • Segment Performance

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • How the market is made up
                                                                                      • Expansion and transformation
                                                                                        • How materials are used
                                                                                          • From practical basics…
                                                                                            • …to high fashion and evening wear
                                                                                              • Pricing
                                                                                              • Companies and Products

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Major multiples in a nutshell
                                                                                                    • Figure 10: Major multiple fashion stores and their ethical trading policies on clothing and ranges, January 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 11: Other major multiples and their ethical trading policies on clothing and ranges, January 2009
                                                                                                  • Substantial steps but some way to go
                                                                                                    • Vulnerable spots
                                                                                                      • Primark and others
                                                                                                        • Outside the mainstream – specialists large and small
                                                                                                        • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Little direct – mainly issues-led
                                                                                                              • Topshop striking out
                                                                                                                • Elsewhere in retail
                                                                                                                  • Higher-impact fashion events
                                                                                                                    • Right up to date
                                                                                                                      • Fairtrade events
                                                                                                                      • Channels to Market

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • On the high street
                                                                                                                            • Online for the full experience
                                                                                                                              • Another alternative
                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Where They Buy

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • The importance of size
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 12: Where they regularly buy clothing, November 2008
                                                                                                                                    • Variety for choice and purpose
                                                                                                                                      • Existing customer profiles
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 13: Where they regularly buy clothing, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 14: Where they regularly buy clothing, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Implications
                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Ethical Clothing

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • It’s not mainstream yet
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Attitudes towards ethical clothing, November 2008
                                                                                                                                            • Indifference or not yet top priority?
                                                                                                                                              • Knowledge and attitudes
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Attitudes towards ethical clothing, by gender and education level, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Attitudes towards ethical clothing, by socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                                                                              • Women and education
                                                                                                                                                • What about the younger buyers?
                                                                                                                                                  • Implications
                                                                                                                                                    • Ethical statements from Mintel’s Brands Elements
                                                                                                                                                      • The most socially responsible retailers
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Socially responsible, top ten retailers, 2008
                                                                                                                                                      • Retailers who care for the environment
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 19: Cares for the environment, top ten retailers, 2008
                                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards Shopping for Clothes

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Spontaneity rules
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 20: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                          • Socio-economics and buying
                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer Typologies

                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Typology groups for ethical clothing, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                • Potential Buyers (10%)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Challenged and Sceptical (27%)
                                                                                                                                                                    • Uninterested (63%)
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Attitudes towards ethical clothing, by typology groups, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by consumer typologies, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                      • Implications
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix

                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumer research
                                                                                                                                                                          • ACORN
                                                                                                                                                                            • Advertising data
                                                                                                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                • Ethical Trading Initiative
                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Base Code
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Internal Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Ethical attitudes, by age, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Where They Buy

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Where they buy clothing, by detailed demographics, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Where they buy clothing, by detailed demographics, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Attitudes towards Ethical Clothing

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Attitudes towards ethical clothing, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Attitudes towards ethical clothing, by detailed demographics, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Attitudes towards ethical clothing, by detailed demographics, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Attitudes towards Shopping for Clothes

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by detailed demographics, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Consumer Typologies

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Consumer typologies, by detailed demographics, November 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Adili.com Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • ASOS
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Barneys New York, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Burt's Bees Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Christian Lacroix
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cosmopolitan
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Debenhams Total (GTV)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Dr Hauschka (WALA Heilmittel GmbH)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fairtrade Foundation (The)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Freeview
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gap Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gianni Versace S.p.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Green Baby Co Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grupo Inditex
                                                                                                                                                                                  • H&M Hennes & Mauritz
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Higher Education Statistics Agency
                                                                                                                                                                                  • House of Fraser Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                  • International Labour Organisation
                                                                                                                                                                                  • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Jasper Conran
                                                                                                                                                                                  • John Lewis Partnership
                                                                                                                                                                                  • John Rocha
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Marie Curie Shops & Trading
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Market & Opinion Research International (MORI)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Monsoon Accessorize Ltd - UK
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mothercare Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Muji (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Neal’s Yard Remedies
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Net-A-Porter Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • New Look Group Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Next Group
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nike
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Organic Trade Association
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Origins Natural Resources, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Outdoor Advertising Association of Great Britain
                                                                                                                                                                                  • OXFAM
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Peacocks
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pippa Small
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Primark Stores Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Selfridges Retail Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Soil Association
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Somerfield
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stella McCartney
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ted Baker
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Body Shop - Retail Sales
                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Organic Pharmacy
                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Salvation Army
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Topshop old
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Traid
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Vivienne Westwood Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Weleda
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Whistles Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wright & Teague
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Yellow Pages Association

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ethical Clothing - UK - February 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                  £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)