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Childrenswear in Western Europe

July 2017

Childrenswear sales in Western Europe have declined for most years throughout the early 21st century as Western Europe has been marked by two major economic downturns in quick succession. In 2015 and 2016, childrenswear returned to positive value growth but continues to be undermined by unfavourable demographic developments and declining unit prices; the latter due to tough retail competition between private label, fast fashion and internet retailing.

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The effects of two major economic downturns linger throughout Western Europe

Childrenswear, like the wider apparel market in Western Europe, has been defined by two major economic downturns in 2008 and 2011, with the effects of the latter still lingering in multiple major countries in the region. Value growth has been negative since 2007 and only returned to positive dynamics in 2015.

Private label reigns

Coupled with price consciousness, parents generally refrain from excess spending on childrenswear when clothes are typically outgrown before they are worn out. Consequently, private label, generally low priced, reigns supreme in childrenswear with 12% of value sales, compared to 8% for apparel.

Fast fashion continues to grow

In addition to private label, fast fashion led by H&M, Zara and Primark have also succeeded among price-conscious Western European parents. Primark, the lowest priced of the three have also seen the quickest growth posting a 12% CAGR over 2011-2016 as it has expanded beyond the UK.

Worrying demographic developments

The two economic downturns Western Europe experienced early in the 21st century had a more profound effect on childrenswear than declining expenditure. From 2008 to 2016, birth rates are down 9% as adults forgo or put off having children during times of economic uncertainty.

Digital development undermines value growth

Digital innovation has done more than propel internet retailing to become the quickest growing channel in apparel, but have also rejuvenated secondhand markets in Western Europe. Digital innovation has made it easier for parents to connect and sell used children’s apparel undermining value growth.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Regional Overview

Western Europe in global context
Childrenswear has been marked by economic downturns
UK ahead in childrenswear
Turkey is a regional bright spot
U ndynamic childrenswear market
A worrying demographic trend
A highly competitive retail scene…
…with apparel and footwear specialists losing out

Leading Companies and Brands

Fragmentation shapes the industry
Private label reigns
Childrenswear more localised
LC Waikiki with an impressive rise

Forecast Projections

A moderately positive outlook…
…but there are multiple factors that undermine value growth

Country Snapshots

UK: Market context
UK: Competitive and retail landscape
Italy: Market context
Italy: Competitive and retail landscape
France: Market context
France: Competitive and retail landscape
Turkey: Market context
Turkey: Competitive and retail landscape
Spain: Market context
Spain: Competitive and retail landscape
Germany: Market context
Germany: Competitive and retail landscape
Netherlands: Market context
Netherlands: Competitive and retail landscape
Sweden: Market context
Sweden: Competitive and retail landscape
Norway: Market context
Norway: Competitive and retail landscape
Austria: Market context
Austria: Competitive and retail landscape
Greece: Market context
Greece: Competitive and retail landscape
Denmark: Market context
Denmark: Competitive and retail landscape
Portugal: Market context
Portugal: Competitive and retail landscape
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