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UK Purchasing Journey for Fashion Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Purchasing Journey for Fashion market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report investigates the process of researching and buying fashion products in the UK, with a focus on the consumer journey to the purchase, both online and offline. It examines the channels that UK consumers prefer to use at each stage of the fashion purchasing process, including how different channels are linked.

For the purpose of this report and unless otherwise indicated, Mintel defines fashion as the following three categories – clothing (including womenswear, menswear, childrenswear and underwear), footwear and accessories.

The market size for this report includes all consumer spending on men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories (including underwear but excluding jewellery and watches) through all retail outlets. To give full context into how consumers are shopping for fashion we provide a total and online market size.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Samantha Dover, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The way people shop for fashion is changing and the distinction between online and offline is increasingly superficial as both channels are intrinsically linked, influencing one another. Online does continue to capture a greater share of the market year-on-year, but the argument remains that many online sales would not be possible without the presence of physical stores. Store-based retailers need to find new ways to harness the power of their high-street presence Samantha Dover
Senior Retail Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Continued growth in the UK fashion industry
              • Figure 1: Consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, 2014-24
            • Online set to account for a third of fashion spending
              • Figure 2: Online consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, 2014-24
            • Companies and brands
              • Merging the offline and offline experience
                • Social media becomes integral to the purchasing journey
                  • The consumer
                    • Online equals store-based purchasing
                      • Figure 3: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, April 2019
                    • Stores influence online shopping, online influences store purchasing
                      • Figure 4: What consumers did before they bought fashion in the last 12 months, April 2019
                    • Most are reluctant to acknowledge where they look for fashion inspiration
                      • Figure 5: Who consumers look to for fashion inspiration, April 2019
                    • Delivery and returns influence where people shop
                      • Figure 6: What would make consumers choose one retailer over another when buying fashion, April 2019
                    • Existing wardrobe important to consumers
                      • Figure 7: Fashion shopping behaviours, April 2019
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • Online vs offline in the British fashion industry
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Who are the real fashion influencers?
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Meeting the needs of an ever-more demanding consumer
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                        • Spending on fashion remains robust
                                          • Online growth continues to outpace the wider market
                                            • Ongoing shifts in where people are shopping
                                              • Rising technology usage influences shopping journey
                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                • Demand for fashion buoyed by clothing
                                                  • Figure 8: Consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, 2014-24
                                                  • Figure 9: Consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, at constant and current prices, 2014-24
                                                • Forecast methodology
                                                • Online Market Size and Forecast

                                                  • Growth in the online market set to slow
                                                    • Figure 10: Online consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, 2014-24
                                                    • Figure 11: Online consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, at constant and current prices, 2014-24
                                                  • Online continues to capture a greater share of spending
                                                    • Figure 12: Online as a percentage of all spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, 2015-19
                                                  • Forecast methodology
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Internet access continues to rise
                                                      • Figure 13: Household internet access, 2009-18
                                                    • Smartphone ownership is changing the way we shop
                                                      • Figure 14: Technology products personally owned, January 2019
                                                    • Changing social media platform preferences
                                                      • Figure 15: Social and media networks used in last 3 months, March 2017 and March 2019
                                                    • Print magazine circulation falling
                                                      • Figure 16: Types of magazines read in the last 6 months, October 2018
                                                    • Retail footfall remains weak…
                                                      • Figure 17: Change in UK retail footfall, by location, May 2016-April 2019
                                                    • …but most consumers still visit the high street
                                                      • Figure 18: Retail locations visited in the last 6 months, April 2019
                                                    • An aging population will shape the shopping journey
                                                      • Figure 19: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2016-26
                                                      • Figure 20: Breakdown of trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2016-26
                                                    • Consumer confidence remains robust
                                                      • Figure 21: Consumer financial confidence, January 2016-March 2019
                                                  • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Social shopping gains momentum
                                                      • In-store technology merges online and offline
                                                        • Aiding the online shopping journey
                                                          • The evolution of personal styling
                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                            • The rise of alternative shopping channels
                                                              • Shopping gets social
                                                                • New ways to reward loyalty
                                                                  • The reimagining of physical stores
                                                                    • The line between online and offline continues to blur
                                                                      • Additional services add value
                                                                        • Localised store concepts
                                                                          • Using online to drive footfall in-store
                                                                            • Changes in the delivery and returns proposition
                                                                              • Sizing and fitting technology continues to evolve
                                                                                • Try before you buy gains momentum
                                                                                  • New ways to aid brand and product discovery
                                                                                    • Personal styling becomes more sophisticated
                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                      • Online penetration is high
                                                                                        • Most shop using both channels
                                                                                          • One in four looks to their peers for fashion advice
                                                                                            • Almost half would choose a retailer because of their delivery
                                                                                              • How consumers decide what to buy is changing
                                                                                              • What They Buy and How They Shop for Fashion

                                                                                                • Clothing remains the most purchased product
                                                                                                  • Figure 22: What fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, April 2019
                                                                                                • As many shopping online as in-store
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, April 2019
                                                                                                • App usage high amongst fashion consumers
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: How fashion items were bought via smartphones/tablets in the last 12 months, April 2019
                                                                                                • Home delivery is favoured by online shoppers
                                                                                                  • Figure 25: How fashion items bought online were received in the last 12 months, April 2019
                                                                                                • Accessory buyers prefer online channel
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: What fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, by how they were bought, April 2019
                                                                                              • What They Do Before Buying Fashion

                                                                                                • One in three visits a store first
                                                                                                    • Figure 27: What consumers did before they bought fashion in the last 12 months, April 2019
                                                                                                  • Women more involved in pre-purchase activities
                                                                                                    • Figure 28: What consumers did before they bought fashion in the last 12 months, by gender, April 2019
                                                                                                  • Young also more likely to participate
                                                                                                    • Figure 29: What consumers did before they bought fashion in the last 12 months, by age, April 2019
                                                                                                  • Online shoppers do more ahead of purchase
                                                                                                    • Figure 30: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, by what they did pre-purchase, April 2019
                                                                                                • Fashion Influencers

                                                                                                  • Most are inspired by people they know
                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Who consumers look to for fashion inspiration, April 2019
                                                                                                  • Men more likely to look to celebrities
                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Who consumers look to for fashion inspiration, by gender, April 2019
                                                                                                  • The importance of influencers in the youth fashion market
                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Who consumers look to for fashion inspiration, by age, April 2019
                                                                                                    • Online shoppers more influenced by others
                                                                                                      • Figure 34: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, by fashion inspiration, April 2019
                                                                                                    • Almost a quarter get inspiration from more than one type of influencer
                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Repertoire of who consumers look to for fashion inspiration, April 2019
                                                                                                  • Important Factors When Choosing Where to Shop

                                                                                                    • Offering a range of delivery options is now integral
                                                                                                      • Figure 36: What would make consumers choose one retailer over another when buying fashion, April 2019
                                                                                                    • Women want easy returns, but retailers want women to return less
                                                                                                      • Figure 37: What would make consumers choose one retailer over another when buying fashion, April 2019
                                                                                                    • Finance options and delivery passes resonate with young shoppers
                                                                                                        • Figure 38: What would make consumers choose one retailer over another when buying fashion, April 2019
                                                                                                      • Reward schemes are a priority for in-store shoppers
                                                                                                          • Figure 39: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, by important factors, April 2019
                                                                                                      • Fashion Buying Behaviours

                                                                                                        • Most consumers don’t buy immediately
                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Fashion shopping behaviours – purchase considerations, April 2019
                                                                                                        • Search engines are key to discovery
                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Fashion shopping behaviours – the shopping journey and product discovery, April 2019
                                                                                                          • CHAID analysis
                                                                                                            • Methodology
                                                                                                              • A demand for lifestyle-based fashion recommendations from fashion experts
                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Purchasing Journey for Fashion – CHAID – Tree output, April 2019
                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Purchasing Journey for Fashion – CHAID – Table output, April 2019
                                                                                                            • The Perfect Shopping Experience

                                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                                • Added value from customer service
                                                                                                                  • Not so pushy staff
                                                                                                                    • For some the store experience is everything…
                                                                                                                      • …but for others the devil is in the detail online
                                                                                                                        • A fit for everyone
                                                                                                                          • Variety is the spice of life
                                                                                                                            • A speedy service
                                                                                                                              • Bargain hunters
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                    • Additional consumer data
                                                                                                                                      • Pre-purchase activities
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, by what they did pre-purchase, April 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Fashion influencers
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, by fashion inspiration, April 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Important factors
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: How fashion items were bought in the last 12 months, by important factors, April 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                        • Best- and worst-case forecast
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Online consumer spending on clothing, footwear and accessories, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                        • Forecast methodology