UK women move away from fast fashion towards quality, but still love denim - report

​With London Fashion week kicking off now, Mintel is predicting that UK womenswear sales will grow 14% between this year and 2022 to reach an eventual £33.5 billion as women seek greater quality in their fashion buys.


UK women are favouring quality over fast fashion a new Mintel report shows


That spending rise comes after the UK women's clothing market grew 3.2% last year to reach a figure of £28.4 billion with only 6% of women the researchers surveyed having bought no clothes for themselves at all in 2017.

And the company said that this year British women will spend £29.4 billion on clothing. That's despite the average woman spending less than the average man per clothes shopping trip. Mintel said that 66% of female shoppers spent less than £50 the last time they bought clothes, compared to just 46% of men. 

It also said they’re “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 season-less fashion,” 69% of female shoppers agree that buying timeless fashion items saves money in the long term. And 64% agree it’s worth spending more on quality clothes that last. 

UK women may be moving away from fast fashion, but especially among younger age groups, they don’t appear to be tiring of denim. Women aged 16-34 are driving sales of jeans, with 53% having purchased a pair in the last three months.

It’s interesting too that they’re demanding more of the shops from which they buy with a move towards sustainability and more reality in marketing. Women are concerned with the origin of the fashion they wear and 36% would be interested in knowing more about how their clothes were made, rising to 47% of Millennial women.

They also want retailers to be more representative of their customers in their campaigns. Some 25% of women would shop at a specific retailer if it used models that represent the average person. This is most important for female Millennials aged 18-27 (30%). And while celebrity faces are popular with retailers and brands, only 5% of women would be encouraged by the use of a celeb as the face of the brand.

When it comes to where they buy, Mintel said that mid-market fashion retailers are the most popular place to buy clothes (63%), but women are increasingly shopping for fashion at non-specialist retailers such as supermarkets (49%).

They’re also moving online fast with convenience being key here as 63% of female shoppers aged 16-24 agree that it’s more convenient to shop online for fashion than in-store. But a large 42% of this age group also believe it is difficult to find what they’re looking for when shopping online for clothes.

And when it comes to returning what they’ve bought, half 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.

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