The UK consumer spent over £74bn on clothing, clothing accessories, household textiles and carpets in 2018. This continues the strong growth levels exhibited since 2011.
Garment sales, which make up by far the greatest component of fashion and textiles, grew to over £53bn in 2018, up from £36bn in 2008.
Government data showed that in 2017, 109,000 people were employed within textiles and apparel manufacture (excluding self-employed), which is an increase of 1% on the previous year. The longer term view of the numbers shows a continuing steady growth in employment numbers.
The wholesale sector accounted for some 43,000 people, while 276,000 people were reported to be employed within retail of clothing in specialist stores in 2017.
UK Manufacturing Output
The UK’s fashion and textile manufacturing sector produces £9.1 billion of product ranging from designer creations seen at the leading catwalks to fabrics used in medical, defence and transport industries.
UK fashion and textile exports continued to perform well in 2017, continuing the upward trajectory to stand at £9.7bn. This represents a 66% increase since 2008. Interestingly, whilst textiles exports have performed well, it has been apparel exports that have driven much of these increases, more than doubling since 2008.
Over 90% of the fashion and textiles that consumers buy on the UK’s high streets is imported but imports of fashion and textile goods slowed in 2018 and saw their first decline since 2012. However, 2018 was still the second highest figure on record standing at over £25bn.
Imports of textile goods stood at £5.6bn, while apparel stood at £19.9bn in 2018, representing a slight increase on the previous year.
WRAP’s latest report looks at recent developments in the market for UK used textiles as well as key factors shaping the outlook for the sector. Read the report here.