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Womenswear - UK - May 2019

Covered in this report

This report examines the UK womenswear market. It predominantly looks at the women’s clothing market and the market size excludes underwear, footwear and fashion accessories, although these categories may be discussed where relevant.

The consumer research includes the following;

  • How women shop for clothing
  • What size clothing women buy
  • Attitudes towards sizing and fit
  • Interest in innovations
  • Clothes shopping behaviours

“Growth in the UK womenswear market has remained robust, with demand being driven by new trends coming through as women become tired of long-standing favourites like the skinny jean. Retailers are recognising that ranges like petite and plus-size are no longer a niche concern, and growth in these categories has been particularly strong. However, there is still a way to go before these consumers are fully served by British fashion retailers.”
– Samantha Dover, Senior Retail Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Merging the online and offline experience
  • The big discounting challenge
  • Ongoing issues with returns, sizing and fit

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

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

          • The market
            • Sales of womenswear continue to grow
              • Figure 1: Consumer spending on women’s clothing, 2013-23
            • Clothing prices fall into deflation
              • Figure 2: Consumer price inflation, March 2018-March 2019
            • Companies and brands
              • Amazon outperforms the clothing specialists in terms of trust and differentiation
                • Figure 3: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, December 2018 and February 2019
              • Marketing spend boosted by uplift in digital advertising
                • Figure 4: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on women’s fashion, 2014-18
              • The consumer
                • Most still shop in-store for clothing, but online now also popular
                  • Figure 5: How women bought clothing in the last 12 months, December 2018
                • Women continue to favour value and high street brands
                  • Figure 6: Womenswear brand preferences, December 2018
                • One in five British women buy plus-size clothing
                  • Figure 7: Clothing sizes worn by womenswear consumers, December 2018
                • Consumers are frustrated with size variation
                  • Figure 8: Attitudes towards buying clothing, December 2018
                • A strong demand for more representative clothing models
                  • Figure 9: Interest in innovation, December 2018
                • Savvy shoppers are taking advantage of discounting activity
                  • Figure 10: Clothing buying behaviour, December 2018
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Merging the online and offline experience
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • The big discounting challenge
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Ongoing issues with returns, sizing and fit
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • Continued uplift in sales of womenswear
                                      • Low inflation could impact growth
                                        • Ongoing uncertainty threatens consumer confidence
                                          • Market exposed to unpredictable weather
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Womenswear market forecast to grow 3.8% in 2019
                                              • Figure 11: Consumer spending on women’s clothing, 2013-23
                                              • Figure 12: Consumer spending on women’s clothing, at current and constant prices, 2013-23
                                            • Forecast methodology
                                            • Market Drivers

                                              • Population changes threaten growth
                                                • Figure 13: Trends in the age structure of the UK female population, 2016-26
                                                • Figure 14: Trends in the age structure of the UK female population, 2016-26
                                              • Clothing and footwear inflation peaks in 2017
                                                • Figure 15: Consumer price inflation, 2007-18
                                              • Downward pressure on womenswear prices
                                                • Figure 16: Consumer price inflation, March 2018-March 2019
                                              • Real wages remain strong to date in 2019
                                                • Figure 17: Real wage growth – Average weekly earnings vs inflation, January 2014-March 2019
                                              • Consumers are worried about Brexit
                                                • Figure 18: How consumers think Brexit will impact the UK economy, December 2018
                                              • Footfall declines apparent across all types of retail locations
                                                • Figure 19: Change in UK retail footfall, by location, January 2016-December 2018
                                              • Fluctuating weather patterns hit retailers hard
                                                • Figure 20: Change in average daily temperatures in the UK, January 2016-December 2018
                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                              • Retailers focus on improving the online experience
                                                • Increased digital advertising in the UK womenswear market
                                                  • Amazon could be a strong player in the UK clothing market
                                                    • New Look leads on in-store womenswear space
                                                    • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                      • Product launches and innovations
                                                        • Tapping into new categories
                                                          • Customised denim
                                                            • Voice shopping
                                                              • Online fashion styling tips and shopping
                                                                • Sustainable fashion
                                                                  • Store concepts and shop environment
                                                                    • Clothing rental service
                                                                    • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                      • Advertising spend increased in 2018
                                                                        • Figure 21: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on women’s fashion, 2014-18
                                                                      • Uplift in expenditure driven by digital
                                                                        • Figure 22: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on women’s fashion, by media type, 2018
                                                                        • Figure 23: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on women’s fashion, by media type, 2014-18
                                                                      • Key campaigns
                                                                        • M&S most digital campaign to date
                                                                          • Nasty Gal adverts banned for being ‘socially irresponsible’
                                                                            • Women empowerment campaigns
                                                                              • Tapping into the power of celebrities
                                                                                • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                • Brand Research

                                                                                    • Brand map
                                                                                      • Figure 24: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, December 2018 and February 2019
                                                                                    • Key brand metrics
                                                                                      • Figure 25: Key metrics for selected brands, December 2018 and February 2019
                                                                                    • Brand attitudes: White Stuff and FatFace worth paying more for
                                                                                      • Figure 26: Attitudes, by brand, December 2018 and February 2019
                                                                                    • Brand personality: Fast fashion retailers seen as fun and accessible
                                                                                      • Figure 27: Brand personality – macro image, December 2018 and February 2019
                                                                                    • River Island seen as aspirational
                                                                                      • Figure 28: Brand personality – micro image, December 2018 and February 2019
                                                                                    • Brand analysis
                                                                                      • The online-only retailers: ASOS, Boohoo and Missguided
                                                                                        • The fashion-led retailers: River Island and Urban Outfitters
                                                                                          • The off-price fashion retailer: TK Maxx
                                                                                            • The lifestyle brands: White Stuff and FatFace
                                                                                            • Space Allocation Summary

                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                • New Look to give more space to womenswear
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Men’s, women’s and childrenswear space allocation overview, October 2018
                                                                                                • M&S holding on to market-leading position
                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Leading clothing retailers, estimated sales, by product, 2017
                                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                • British women shop for clothing often
                                                                                                  • Two out of three womenswear consumers shop online
                                                                                                    • Value and high street brands remain popular
                                                                                                      • Demand for plus-size and petite fashion strong
                                                                                                        • Women face a number of pain points when shopping for clothing
                                                                                                          • Merging the online and offline experience
                                                                                                            • Consumers take advantage of widespread discounting
                                                                                                            • What They Buy

                                                                                                              • Market driven by young and old
                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Women who have bought clothing in the last 12 months, by demographics, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Clothing and underwear most frequently purchased
                                                                                                                • Figure 32: What fashion items women have bought in the last 3 months, March 2019
                                                                                                              • Separates remain more popular than dresses
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: What clothing items women have bought in the last 3 months, March 2019
                                                                                                              • Women less likely to buy multiple clothing items
                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Number of clothing items bought on last shopping trip, by gender, March 2019
                                                                                                              • Women spend less per shopping trip
                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Amount spent on clothing items on last shopping trip, by gender, March 2019
                                                                                                            • How They Shop

                                                                                                              • Online penetration high
                                                                                                                • Figure 36: How women bought clothing in the last 12 months, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Online market driven by young women
                                                                                                                • Figure 37: How women bought clothing in the last 12 months, by age, December 2018
                                                                                                            • Brand Preferences

                                                                                                              • High street brands reign supreme
                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Womenswear brand preferences, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Young women favour value brands
                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Womenswear brand preferences, by age, December 2018
                                                                                                            • Womenswear Sizing

                                                                                                              • One in five buy plus-size clothing
                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Clothing sizes worn by womenswear consumers, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Strong demand for mature plus-size fashion
                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Clothing sizes worn by womenswear consumers, by age, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Most are confident in their clothing size
                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Repertoire of clothing sizes worn by womenswear consumers, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Strong demand for petite clothing
                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Height of womenswear consumers, December 2018
                                                                                                            • Attitudes towards Buying Clothing

                                                                                                              • Difficulty finding clothing that fits well
                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Attitudes towards buying clothing, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Frustration with size variation is widespread
                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Attitudes towards buying clothing, by age, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Plus-size shoppers find shopping more problematic
                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Attitudes towards buying clothing, by clothing size worn, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Premium and luxury shoppers face fewer challenges
                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Attitudes towards buying clothing, by brand preferences, December 2018
                                                                                                            • Interest in Innovation

                                                                                                              • Demand for sizing avatars is strong
                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Interest in innovation, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Young women want better fitting rooms
                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Interest in innovation, by age, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Premium and luxury shoppers want more in-store tech
                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Interest in innovation, by brand preferences, December 2018
                                                                                                            • Clothes Buying Behaviour

                                                                                                              • Womenswear shoppers are less critical of value fashion
                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Clothing buying behaviour, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Discounting problematic in the youth market
                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Clothing buying behaviour – discounting, by age, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Overconsumption rife amongst women
                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Clothing buying behaviour – frequency and returns, by age, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Premium brands have eroded price integrity
                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Clothing buying behaviour – frequency and returns, by brand preferences, December 2018
                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                    • Best- and worst-case forecast
                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Consumer spending on women’s clothing, best- and worst-case forecast, 2018-23
                                                                                                                    • Forecast methodology

                                                                                                                    Womenswear - UK - May 2019

                                                                                                                    US $2,552.20 (Excl.Tax)