Apparel Accessories in Western Europe

March 2021

Western European sales of apparel accessories were already falling prior to 2020, with the arrival of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region then resulting in significant declines in nearly all categories in 2020. The exception was other apparel accessories, with dynamic sales of reusable face masks managing to limit the overall market decline. Despite a rebound in the other categories in 2021, the overall forecast period performance will be a disappointing one for apparel accessories.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Sales already in decline prior to 2020

Apparel and footwear was already struggling before the pandemic in a number of countries in Western Europe, hit by increasing market saturation and competition from emerging players, as well as e-commerce also being an ever-growing threat to physical retailers.

Sales collapse due to the pandemic

All categories in apparel accessories, bar other apparel accessories, recorded steep declines in 2020, heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The extended closures of non-essential retail outlets was a major blow, with lockdowns and remote working also hurting the performances of these products. The measures to contain the spread of the virus also put pressure on households’ disposable incomes, with essential goods generally being prioritised.

E-commerce records a giant leap in share

Although store-based retailing continues to dominate Western European apparel sales, circumstances in 2020 were a real boon to e-commerce, which recorded very strong growth in its value sales share. Although consumers were still keen to see and try on apparel products before buying them, internet retailing represented an ideal solution for buying goods in lockdown or when looking to avoid going out in public because of the virus.

Swift return to positive growth expected from 2021

The categories recording strong declines in 2020 will see dynamic sales increases in 2021, driven by pent-up demand for store-based shopping among consumers and a hoped-for return to offices as well as going out to foodservice establishments and other entertainment venues. With the need for reusable face masks diminishing, other apparel accessories will go into decline from 2021, with steep falls expected from 2022, offsetting the growth seen in the other categories and resulting in declining overall sales in apparel accessories in 2022-2025.

Key findings
Western Europe among the weaker performers over 2015-2020
2021’s recovery to be followed by declining growth rates from 2022
Most countries with declining sales in 2020 due to COVID-19
Other apparel accessories “to the rescue”
Other apparel accessories sales rise, the remaining categories decline
Sales already in decline prior to COVID-19 in many countries
Apparel and footwear specialist retailers still the main sales channel…
…but e-commerce continues gaining, particularly in the pandemic
Face mask sales increase fragmentation in 2020, if only temporarily
Leading players’ shares hit by retail closures and booming face masks
Germany the main market for the bulk of the top 10 players
Primark and adidas moving up the rankings in 2020
Positive growth expected in 2021…
…before a return to negative growth rates from 2022
Austria: Market Context
Austria: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Denmark: Market Context
Denmark: Competitive and Retail Landscape
France: Market Context
France: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Germany: Market Context
Germany: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Greece: Market Context
Greece: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Italy: Market Context
Italy: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Netherlands: Market Context
Netherlands: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Norway: Market Context
Norway: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Portugal: Market Context
Portugal: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Spain: Market Context
Spain: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Sweden: Market Context
Sweden: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Turkey: Market Context
Turkey: Competitive and Retail Landscape
UK: Market Context
UK: Competitive and Retail Landscape

Apparel and Footwear

Apparel is the aggregation of clothing and footwear. This dataset covers retail sales of apparel through both store-based retailers and non-store retailers. Excludes black market sales (i.e. untaxed, generated within informal retailing)and duty free sales (travel retail). Items must be new when sold to the consumer; second-hand/used items are excluded. Antique and/or vintage clothing and footwear is also excluded.

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