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Over one in three Brits struggle with fit

By Vivian Hendriksz

24 Nov 2015


With the holiday season just around the corner, many UK consumers have turned their thoughts to finding that perfect Christmas party dress, or Boxing Day suit. However, with the average UK size sitting between a size 14 and 16, many shoppers may be stuck searching for the perfect fit as new research indiciates that over one in three (38 percent) Brits struggle to find clothing that fits them well. This figure increases to nearly half of UK women aged between 16 and 44 (49 percent) according to new research from Mintel.

UK consumers find it hard to find the right fit

Although many UK consumers will take their search for a better fit offline as well as online, a number will also take matters in to their own hands, with one third (33 percent) of the 2,000 consumers questioned making their own alterations to garments. In addition, almost two in five (38 percent) of the respondents questioned by Mintel revealed they are not confident finding the right clothes which best flatter and suit their shape and size, even though more than half (55 percent) are willing to spend more money on the right products.

With overall spend on plus-size clothing predicted to reach 5.4 billion pounds in 2015 according to research firm Conlumino, fashion retailers should be investing more in developing the right cut and fit for their collections. "The fact that consumers are willing to spend more on clothes that flatter them highlights just how important it is for retailers to focus on designing clothes that are cut to fit well and use the correct fabric to improve the way a garment falls," believes Tamara Sender, senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel.

Three in four UK consumers prefer to see an improved size standardization for fashion retailers

"Retailers can also do more to help shoppers find the correct fitting clothes and there is scope to have staff with additional training in tailoring skills on hand in changing rooms that know how to measure a customer and advise them on what fits." Three in four (76 percent) of UK consumers would prefer to see an improved size standardization across fashion retailers and brands, with an additional 63 percent interested in seeing more stores offering a wider selection of sizing ranges, such as petite or plus-sizes.

Research indicates that the highest levels of UK consumers dissatisfaction when shopping for new clothes is linked to the availability of desired items in the correct size. 7 percent of Brits who recently purchased clothing, either online or in-store, said they were dissatisfied by this, with one in ten 16-24 year old discontented by the lack of correct size. "There are currently huge variances between retailers, with a size 12 for example fitting differently depending which retailer or brand it is purchased from, meaning customers cannot automatically know whether a garment will fit them without trying it on," added Sender.

"A real need for retailers to more accurately manufacture clothes"

"There is therefore a real need for retailers to more accurately manufacture clothes so there is consistency in sizing across all retailers and brands." With 65 percent of UK consumers buying clothes online, sizing continues to be a thorn in e-tailers sides. Mintel found that 37 percent of shoppers returned clothes bought online over the past year, with 54 percent of 16-24 consumers sending back an ill-fitting item bought online. The main reason for returning the clothing was poor fit, with 43 percent citing this as the top reason for their return.

"While the growth of online shopping has accentuated the focus on the problems consumers have with finding clothes that fit, this is not a new problem," pointed out Sender. One solution to the problem could come in the form of a portable body scanner which would offer consumers exact measurements in seconds. With UK shoppers showing keen interesting in technological fitting solution, Mintel found that 45 percent of Brits would also be interested in using a virtual fitting solution that compares the measurements of an item they already own to one online.

45 percent would also be interested in using a service, such as a smartphone app to match their measurements to the correct size with different retailers and 39 percent would like to try a digital measuring service to find their perfect fit. "In an increasingly competitive market, retailers that look to find solutions for customers shopping both in-store and online will stand out from rivals," concluded Sender.

Image credit: navabi and Facebook