Britons are ‘tribal’ fashion shoppers – survey

Some 40% of UK consumers identify strongly with a specific fashion ‘look’ and they spend £16.2bn a year as they pursue that look, whether it’s athleisure, 90s grunge or any one of many high street trends. And even if the look they pursue isn’t easy to categorise, as many as 32% of consumers said they stick with one timeless style throughout their lifetime.


That’s according to a new national survey of over 2,000 consumers exploring British attitudes to fashion.

The implications for the fashion brand and retail sector are that a huge number of target consumers are likely to be resistant to trend changes and are simply seeking evolutionary updates to their favoured look. That fact, perhaps, explains the elongation of the trend lifecycle with key items such as low-rise or skinny jeans having been difficult to move on from and newer ideas such as wider silhouettes taking a long time to hit the commercial mainstream.

The data comes from new research commissioned by Voucher Codes. The RetailMeNot-owned website commissioned YouGov to speak to UK shoppers and found only 6% of fashion-focused consumers feel obliged to refresh their wardrobe every season although the average UK consumer spends £572 a year to fit in with their ‘fashion tribe’.

But while efforts to reach many consumers with new trends might seem to be wasted, for the large number of consumers who have no particular style and the sizeable group that sees its style as being based on whatever is hot on the high street at any given time, the opportunity to get shoppers to buy something new and different is much larger.


Of those that belong to a ‘clothing cult,’ the majority see themselves as ‘High-street Hoarders,’ with 41% regularly shopping for affordable high street fashion from the current season.

Meanwhile one quarter describe their signature style as ‘Classic and Preppy’ and 12% identify with ‘90’s Grunge’, which has seen a return to centre stage recently. Conversely, over half of individual Britons (57%), claim they don’t have a signature style.

Jack Wills

High Street Hoarders on average spend around £41 a month on fashion, while Classic and Preppy consumers spend a little over £42 on their striped shirts, shiny shoes, loafers, trousers, cable knit V-neck jumpers and  tea dresses. The 90s Grunge fans spend £34 monthly, while those favouring Hipster Gear (skinny jeans, tortoiseshell eyewear, plaid shirts, and vintage clothing) spend £37.32. Activewear afficionados are among the heaviest spenders at present with a monthly bill of just over £66 devoted to on-trend luxe leggings, yoga wear and the hottest fashion trainers and gym gear from sports brands.

But, unsurprisingly, so-called Designer Divas spend the most with a monthly fashion bill of £164. We have to assume that, like High Street Hoarders, those addicted to designer labels are also adjusting their style as their favourite designer brands change their look.
While Britons are often wedded to one particular look, they’re more prepared to experiment at weekends with 20% confessing they sport alternative looks on the weekend.


But where does the inspiration for their looks come from? Some 18% say their friends inspire them to identify with a particular clothing cult, while 17% admit their style is defined by the city they live in or plan to move to. Only 7% take inspiration from browsing through their favourite fashion magazines and for now, social media influences an even smaller 6%. That said, 50% of people find it hard to pin down why they dress the way they do.

Matchesfashion/Diane Von Furstenberg

Given that many people dress according to the style of the place they live, it’s interesting to learn about regional variations. The survey showed Wales to be the High Street Hoarder hotspot of the UK, with over half of Welsh residents (54%) identifying with fast, affordable fashion. Meanwhile, Yorkshire was found to be the Hipster capital, with 16% of shoppers in the region admitting the trend best described their signature style, while those in the West Midlands were most likely to be seen in a pair of cutout leggings, with more activewear fans than anywhere else in the UK (18%).
The study also revealed that those from the North-East are the biggest fashion spenders, forking out more than the rest of the UK on their chosen style at £63 per month.. Yorkshire was found to be the least materialistic, wit consumers there setting aside an average of just £35 per month on conforming to their chosen fashion tribe.

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