Clothes hanging in a shop

Youth Fashion: Young Brits Cut Back on Fashion

September 18, 2013
3 min read

Mintel’s 2023 report on the Lifestyles of Generation Z shows that young people are feeling the economic squeeze, as more than half are prioritising managing their finances. This financial squeeze is having an impact on their fashion spend. In behaviour consistent across 2022 and 2023, young people aged between 16-24 are the age group who most prioritise affordability in clothing purchases.

In 2022, over half of British consumers aged 16-24 said that they had switched to cheaper clothing brands in the last twelve months. Compared to just over a quarter of people aged over 55 who did the same, we can see that the impact of tighter financial conditions on young people is directly hitting their fashion budget.

We can understand this reshuffling of financial priorities further in the fact that almost 70% of young consumers said that affordability is the most important factor in their clothing purchases. This is more than double those who noted trendiness and long-lasting design as priorities. For British consumers aged 16-24, affordable fashion is more appealing than trendy or long-lasting fashion.

How Can Fashion Brands Target Young Consumers?

With young people looking for affordability from their clothing brands, fashion retailers should look at offering ‘bang for your buck’ as a key selling point. Brands which appeal disproportionately to young shoppers in the UK include Primark, TK Maxx, and Shein, all of which offer reasonable prices for trendy items. 

Primark and TK Maxx are known brands in the UK, with an existing consumer base built up over many years. With around a third of young women in the UK cutting costs by buying cheaper ranges from their usual retailers, trusted brands like Primark and TK Maxx, as well as others, could target young women by offering ranges with discounted prices.

Primark and Shein closely follow micro-trends and cheaply produce garments designed for short-term fashion over long-term quality, which means that they can appeal to young consumers’ appetite for affordable, but wearable, clothing. Meanwhile, TK Maxx is known for extreme discounts on clothing that is often designer or high-end. Brands offering higher-end product ranges, who are less able to offer thrift-friendly price tags, could target young consumers with buy-now-pay-later partners like Klarna, a credit brand that has become incredibly popular amongst young women shopping online.

Looking Ahead with Mintel

Mintel’s latest research shows us that young consumers in the UK are moving towards affordable fashion as a result of tighter financial conditions, so we expect to see more brands catering to this priority in the next few years. With fast fashion powerhouses like Primark and Shein already appealing particularly to young people, and offering cheap, trendy clothing, more brands may follow in their footsteps to offer an attractive price point above longevity or quality.

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Tamara Sender
Tamara Sender

Tamara Sender is a Associate Director – Fashion Retail at Mintel. She researches and writes for Mintel’s UK Fashion Reports.

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