“While British women are frequently labelled as having an insatiable appetite for clothes shopping, it appears that for many, clothes shopping is something of a nightmare. Indeed, new research into women’s fashion from Mintel reveals almost half (47%) of the nation’s new mums do not enjoy shopping for clothes and 44% of British women overall do not enjoy the clothes shopping experience.

Almost half (47%) of women with children aged under five admit to struggling to find clothes that are both fashionable and flatter their body shape. And for women overall, trying on clothes is the number one clothes shopping bugbear, with over four in ten women (43%) disliking trying on clothes in shops and half (49%) of Britain’s ladies feeling that clothes stores target only young people.

Finding clothes that are both fashionable and flatter the body shape is a sizeable issue for 41% of all ladies. Furthermore, over a quarter of British women (27%) complain that it is difficult to find retailers that sell fashionable clothes for their age. As many as one in four (25%) of the nation’s women struggle to find retailers that sell fashionable clothes for their size, rising to nearly four in ten (36%) mums with kids aged under five.

Michelle Strutton, Senior Consumer Analyst at Mintel said:

“Given that new mothers are inclined to struggle to find trend-led clothes for their new shapes, there is a gap in the market for retailers targeting these women, who are tending to be older when they have children and are therefore more likely to have the financial means to pay for a wardrobe update after having children. “

“Size is set to become an even bigger issue for clothing retailers. With so many women currently avoiding certain styles of clothes because of their size and a quarter of ladies struggling to find retailers that sell fashionable clothes for their size, more non-specialist retailers should incorporate larger sizes into their ranges in order to attract the fuller figured shopper. “Michelle continues.

In 2011, Mintel expects the womenswear market to grow at a similar rate to 2010, rising 2% to £19.4 billion, as consumers remain cautious. In today’s tough financial climate, quality is where it is at for British ladies as there has been a significant rise in women investing in quality clothes, with almost a quarter (23%) buying fewer items but better quality garments, compared with one in eight (13%) in 2010.

Looking to the future, it seems that development of online retailing is set to drive growth in the womenswear sector as almost a fifth (17%) of all women are comparing prices online before buying in-store compared with 2010, rising to almost a quarter (23%) of 16-24 year olds.

“There is scope for online specialists to target those consumers who still buy more clothes in-store and those who have browsed for clothes online but never bought through viral marketing campaigns. The communication could include the latest product and lifestyle news in order to increase brand loyalty, drive traffic to the website and encourage consumers to buy more. As impulse buying in-store falls, more retailers can drive last-minute clothes purchases online by offering a service that if consumers order a garment via their websites before 9pm they will be guaranteed delivery the next day. “

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