26% of consumers fear clothes prices will ascend

26% of consumers fear clothes prices will ascend

UK fashion fashion appears to be loosing speed as sales of clothing, footwear and accessories are predicted to rise by just 1.9% this year as Brits brace themselves for an expensive future.

The UK fashion market has flourished in recent years, growing by 5.6% in 2015, according to Mintel's flagship British Lifestyles report. However, Brits are increasingly prioritising spending on leisure activities and experiences over material possessions, in what has become known as "the experience economy".

Indeed, the leisure and entertainment market grew by an estimated 3.2% in 2016, outpacing the 2.4% growth estimated for the clothing, footwear and accessories category.

Currently it is menswear that is bagging growth, with sales rising by 2.8% in 2016. Just one in five (20%) men said they spent less on clothing and accessories over the past year, compared to 26% of women.

As Brits consider the uncertainties of Brexit, Mintel says consumers are preparing for an expensive future, with over four in five (83%) concerned about seeing price rises on goods and services, with 26% fearing clothes prices will ascend.

Beyond concerns over rising prices, Brits are also worried about "bigger picture" issues, with 68% concerned about the UK economy and 67% nervous about the state of the environment. By contrast, people appear less concerned by issues relating to their personal situation, with half (48%) of all adults concerned about their ability to pay the bills and less than two in five (37%) worried about their level of debt.

Around 46% of UK consumers say Britain's vote to leave the European Union will have a negative impact on the cost of living in the UK, unchanged from last year. However, attitudes towards Brexit's impact on the economy appear to have softened, as 31% now believe it will have a negative impact on the UK's economic growth, down from 39% in July 2016.

"Following the UK's vote to leave the EU, there has been a great deal of discussion about how it will impact the price of goods and services," says Jack Duckett, Mintel's senior consumer lifestyles analyst. "However, broader consumer confidence is still relatively strong. Despite rising prices, most people still expect their finances to hold up well over the next year. It's the bigger picture issues that the UK faces, such as the NHS and the economy, that are the main concern, rather than people's own finances."

Despite this, the report projects that by 2021, Britons will spend GBP1.4trn per annum, with growth of 17% expected over the next five years. But while Mintel predicts the foodservice, personal finance, and leisure and entertainment categories will flourish in this time, it believes the household care, technology and clothing and accessories markets will face challenges.