Why the gender difference in UK clothing prices?

An analysis of data reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that prices for women’s clothing in the UK have increased by 37% over the past five years, while men’s clothing has only risen one quarter (25%), according to News from heaven. The news publication also points out that this has greatly exceeded wages in the UK, which are said to be only 20% higher than they were at the start of 2017.

The analysis reveals that the price of bras has risen about as much as wages, but panties are more expensive, costing on average 37% more than five years ago, while a t- shirt almost doubled in price (46%) and unbranded. jeans are up 79% since 2017.

Other notable increases in women’s clothing prices since 2017 include:

  • Jacket – 34% more expensive
  • Blouse – 43% more expensive
  • Skirt – 54% more expensive
  • Boots – 12% more expensive
  • Tights – 34% more expensive
  • Vest – 55% more expensive
  • Scarf – 40% more expensive
  • Sneakers – 44% more expensive

The impact of the gender divide on UK clothing prices

GlobalData clothing analyst Pippa Stephens told Just Style exclusively that there are a number of factors to explain why women’s clothing prices are rising faster than men’s.

She says: “Firstly, because women tend to have more purchasing power when it comes to clothes, this means they are less deterred from making purchases if the price of items has increased, as well as the fact that women’s clothing tends to be more trend-driven, meaning they’re less likely to notice incremental increases than they would on baselines, which make up a larger proportion of clothing ranges for men.

Stephens also points out that women’s clothing is often made using fabrics or processes that are difficult to replicate at a lower cost, which can drive prices up more.

She predicts, however, that the price gap between men’s and women’s clothing will only widen given rising inflation rates.

“While gradual price increases over the past few years have not seemed to impact women’s spending more than men’s, the sudden spike in inflation rates in 2022 is expected to lead to more disparities. ”

Stephens explains that a monthly survey of UK consumers conducted in April 2022 by GlobalData reveals that 41.8% of men do not plan to change their shopping habits due to high inflation rates, compared to only 19.5% women.

She suggests this is likely because men generally focus more on the essentials, while women tend to buy clothes more often to keep up with trends, and concludes that this means women “can cut more easily now that the prices of clothing and the cost of living have soared”.

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