UK clothing sales shrink as a portion of the overall retail ecommerce market

The forecast: During the pandemic-induced lockdowns in 2020, many UK-based shoppers confined to their homes saw little need to shop for apparel, and even now, as restrictions ease, apparel will still not be a consumer focus. We forecast textile, clothing, and footwear sales' proportion of total retail ecommerce sales will decline, as the sector fails to keep up with market growth.

  • Textile, clothing, and footwear will be the only category we track in the UK where the proportion of total retail ecommerce sales will actually decline, from 12.2% in 2019 to 10.4% in 2025.
  • Total UK retail sales for this category plummeted by 23.5% last year. We expect a further, albeit less drastic, decline of 3.9% for 2021.
  • Despite declining sales growth, textile, clothing, and footwear saw a massive shift to digital sales in 2020. Retail ecommerce sales in the UK accounted for 37.6% of sales in this category in 2020, up from 23.3% in 2019.

Looking ahead: Retail ecommerce sales have continued to drive UK textile, clothing, and footwear sales in the first half of 2021 and will make up 48.5% of the category's sales by the end of the year. The category's retail ecommerce sales in the UK will approach $20 billion in 2021, but growth will not rebound to its 2019 rate.