Within apparel accessories, ties was the only category to post a current value decline in 2018. The casualisation of professional office dress codes continued to negatively impact its performance as workplaces are becoming increasingly informal.
As internet use in 2018 soared to 90% of the population, online retailing continued to post strong growth, with UK consumers also becoming more trend-aware than ever before. This has been due in large part to the role Instagram plays in the fashion industry.
Consumers are more likely to buy apparel accessories on impulse due to their relatively low prices when compared to ready-to-wear and leather goods. This results in frequent purchases but also leads to low levels of brand loyalty as sales tend to be influenced by trends rather than brand name.
The sportswear giant Nike and value leader Primark are rapidly gaining share in the category, in line with their positive performances across the board, while accessory specialists Claire’s and Accessorize are struggling as they lose relevance among consumers. Fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M are also gaining share at the expense of specialists (they are popular due to their more fashion-forward focus), but competition is intensifying, with key high street retailers such as Arcadia Group’s Topshop struggling to outperform its rivals despite a consistently trendy product offering.
J Sainsbury’s Tu, Tesco’s F&F and George at Asda all continued to record positive growth in apparel accessories in 2018. As with Primark, much of their success in the category has been built on their value-focused product ranges.
Logomania continued to fuel demand for entry-level luxury products such as logo belts, hats and hair accessories, enabling consumers to indulge in conspicuous consumption at more affordable prices and generating high-margin sales for luxury players. Social media and the pervasive role it plays in modern society is helping to drive sales of luxury products which are easily identifiable in online feeds, such as Gucci logo belts, Balenciaga baseball caps and Burberry check scarves.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Apparel and Footwear market research database