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As London Fashion Week kicks off this Friday (14th September 2018), Mintel takes a peek inside British women’s wardrobes to exclusively reveal how the womenswear market is set to unfold during the year ahead:

  • The UK women’s clothing market grew by 3.2% in 2017 to reach a fashionable £28.4 billion, according to Mintel research, as the nation’s women continue to prioritise clothes spending. Highlighting their passion for fashion, this year British women are set to spend £29.4 billion on clothing. Just one in twenty (6%) women didn’t buy clothes for themselves in 2017.
  • Dressed for success, Mintel forecasts that sales of womenswear will grow by 14% between 2018 and 2022 to reach £33.5 billion.
  • They may be famed for their love of fashion, but the average woman spends less than her male counterpart on a typical clothes shopping trip. According to Mintel research, the vast majority (66%) of female shoppers spent less than £50 the last time they bought clothes, compared to just 46% of men.
  • British women are showing signs of fatigue with the low-priced, fast fashion they’ve become accustomed to buying. Moving away from overtly trend-driven pieces in favour of more seasonless fashion, almost seven in ten (69%) female shoppers agree that buying timeless fashion items saves money in the long term. A further 64% agree it is worth spending more on quality clothes that last.
  • Indigo, straight leg or frayed, fashion-conscious young women aged 16-34 are driving sales of jeans, with over half (53%) having purchased a pair in the last 3 months*.
  • Seeking out more authenticity, consumers are becoming more demanding and want retailers to be more representative in their campaigns. A quarter (25%) of female shoppers say they would shop at a specific retailer if it used models that represent the average person. This is most important for younger female Millennials aged 18-27, with 30% seeking more representative models. Just 5% of women would be encouraged by the use of a celebrity as the face of the brand.
  • Supermarket sweep: while mid-market fashion retailers are the most popular place to buy clothes (63%), women are increasingly shopping for fashion at non-specialist retailers such as supermarkets (49%).
  • Proving convenience is king, 63% of female shoppers aged 16-24 agree that it’s more convenient to shop online for fashion than in-store. But 42% of this age group believe it is difficult to find what they are looking for when shopping online for clothes.
  • Sizing up the market, half (50%) of women have returned clothes because they don’t fit well. This rises to 61% of women aged 16-34 who are the main clothes shoppers.
  • Seeking transparency in the clothes that they wear, women are concerned with the origin of fashion they buy, one in three (36%) would be interested in knowing more about how their clothes were made, rising to almost half (47%) of Millennial women.

Samantha Dover, Senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Although recent headlines give the impression the current UK fashion market is in a terrible state, it’s not all doom and gloom as sales of womenswear continue to grow. The market is undoubtedly challenging and more competitive than ever before, but those with a real understanding of what their customers want will continue to succeed.

“Evermore demanding consumers want retailers to be more representative and body-positive in their campaigns. Online-only youth fashion retailers have been the most responsive to this demand, with these companies beginning to display their clothes on different sized models, while others are rejecting image retouching and pledging not to promote one idealised body image.

“Our research shows that brand loyalty in womenswear is currently low, meaning fashion retailers need to communicate more effectively a compelling and differentiated offer to stand out from the crowd. The retailers that are outperforming are the ones willing to take a risk, to experiment, to elevate the customer experience, and to plough significant investment into concepts that make shopping for fashion easier and more enjoyable.”

* 3 months to January 2018