Which Brits still buy clothes in shops?

Christien PhebyContent Manager
July 31, 2020, 3:53 PM UTC

A fifth of the population still buy their threads on the high street

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic was bad for the fashion industry would be an understatement. Alongside the obvious effects of store closures across the country, the decline in consumer confidence over lockdown meant Brits who might have ordered clothes online had less motivation to do so.

Fortunately for fashion retailers, the high street has now reopened – so those who prefer to do their clothes shopping in person can now do so. This group amounts to a fifth (20%) of Brits overall. But who are the high street holdouts, and how can fashion brands reach them?

Men between 18-44 are more likely to prefer buying clothes in store – though over 55s represent the demographic most likely to purchase threads online and offline. When it comes to shopping habits, nine in ten (90% vs. 85% of the public) high street holdouts are more likely to prioritise functionality over fashion, and three-quarters (78% vs. 73% of the public) prize comfort over style. This may well explain their preferences for shopping in-person: it’s much harder to tell whether a jumper or a pair of jeans is going to feel nice to wear from a photo. It’s therefore probably unsurprising that three-quarters (77%) prefer to physically touch products before they buy them compared to two-thirds (65%) of the public.

High street holdouts are also more likely to say they prefer to stick to brands they like (77% vs. 71% of the public) and that they don’t care about luxury goods (74% vs. 66%).

From a financial perspective, this group leans towards frugality: half (52%) stick to a strict budget when shopping (versus 38% of the public) and six in ten (63%) say they only buy what they need when they go to the supermarket. It’s a more spartan approach that, alongside comfort and product-feel, probably also goes some way towards explaining why they shop in-store: it’s much easier to make a regrettable purchase that you may well forget to return online.

In terms of advertising, high street holdouts tend to be more perceptive: six in ten (61% vs. 46% of the public) say they notice adverts on public transport and over half (54% vs. 38% of the public) say they notice ads at train stations. Of course, noticing ads isn’t the same thing as enjoying them, let alone making a purchase – so marketers targeting this group of consumers should take care to understand their preferences and interests.

Find out more about YouGov Profiles