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1.1 Market definition and global market

Workwear is defined as clothing intended to be worn in the course of a professional activity, often to protect the worker from one or more risks that threaten his safety.

There are 4 main categories of workwear:

  • Technical clothing;
  • Image clothing;
  • Uniforms;
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE).

Nevertheless, the distinction between these categories is gradually fading as many PPE or technical garments are becoming more and more personalised.

The workwear market is deeply linked to the dynamism of the industrial sector, construction, certain market services (hotel/restaurant, transport), healthcare and public services. Their main functions include worker protection, brand or service communication, or employee identification. Moreover, in the UK, the market is influenced by the evolution of the regulations on workers' safety, both on the demand and the supply side.

The global workwear market is projected to follow a strong growth of 4.3% per year up until 2027, mainly led by some of the leading global economies. On the other hand, while the British market is also growing, its growth rate is much smaller (CAGR of 3.6% in imports between 2013 and 2018) than that of other European countries such as Netherlands (CAGR of 14.6%), Italy (10.5%) or Germany (7.9%).

1.2 The growing global workwear market

The global workwear market was valued at **.* billion USD in **** (***) of *.*% up until **** [***].

Size of the global workwear market World, ****-*****, in billions of USD Source: ****

The workwear market is broken down into two elements:

Apparel (***) Footwear

Apparel is the biggest element of this market, accounting for just over **% of the ...

1.3 The slowly growing British market

Within a European context, the British workwear market is growing at a much slower rate than that of other countries in the region. If we take the value of imports of workwear into the UK between **** and ****, we see that UK imports only grew by *.*% per year, far behind the growth ...


2.1 Demand and its determinants

In terms of consumption, the United Kingdom is one of the largest consumers of workwear in Europe with nearly **% of European consumption in ****, according to the European Clothing Action Plan (***). In addition, unlike Germany, Spain or Italy, the United Kingdom produces on average more workwear than it imports, reflecting a fragmented ...

2.2 A market dominated by men

In the UK, the vast majority of workwear items produced/sold have men as the end users. Taking the **** value of imports, we see that of the total €*** million of workwear items imported into Britain, **% were men's workwear, while only **% was for women [***].

What is interesting to note is how the ...

2.3 The factors that determine the demand

The level of demand for work clothing in the UK is evolving according to cyclical and structural determinants.

Cyclical factors

On the one hand, national economic growth is a major determinant of demand, as it can stimulate or, on the contrary, slow down the growth in the level of employment and ...


3.1 Production of workwear

Work clothes are mainly made of cotton and polyester in particular to ensure comfort and flexibility for the workers who wear them. Natural and synthetic fibres are also used.

The production of workwear follows a precise chain according to ECAP

These raw materials are first processed, in particular by spinning and ...

3.2 Workwear value chain

The value chain of the workwear market can be seen in the graphs diagrams below.

Source: ****

From the latter diagram, below are some examples that fall under each category [***].

Uniforms: Armed forces, Law enforcement, Postal services

Blue workwear: Heavy industry, Manufacturing

White workwear: Healthcare, Hospitality

Career wear: Airlines, Security offices, ...

3.3 Distribution chain

Producers of workwear mainly distribute their products to companies or public authorities wishing to equip their employees with the clothing and accessories necessary for the proper functioning of their activity.

We note two main distribution channel models:

- direct sales distribution, representing **% of the distribution in Western European countries such as ...

3.4 Geographic distribution of workwear production

In ****, there were *** companies operating under the code SIC **** "manufacture of workwear" in the UK, which employed nearly *,*** people. The British companies operating under this code generated a turnover of *** million GBP in **** [***].

Most of the activity in this sector occurs in England, which is where nearly **% of the companies are ...


4.1 The different types of work clothing

Frost offers a segmentation into * main types of workwear:

General work clothing, which is divided into two categories; "Blue" work clothes; used in heavy industry or manufacturing "White" work clothes used in hospitals or restaurants. Service company work clothing: for airlines, banks, security agents, tourism or logistics. Uniforms: used mainly by ...

4.2 Product typology and prices

Prices for workwear items vary depending on the type of item. In general, footwear and jackets tend to be more expensive, however, more specific items can also be quite costly. Below are the prices for a sample of workwear items in the UK.

Source: ****

4.3 Market trends

Like the apparel market as a whole, the workwear follows trends and guidelines regarding product sustainability, developed and available technologies and social responsibility. In the workwear market in particular, other aspects are of particular importance

Innovation and comfort

There is a trend towards lighter protective clothing because the more comfortable the ...


5.1 Regulations

The Harmonized System (***) for the classification of goods is a six-digit code system [***].

The HS includes approximately *,*** item/product descriptions that appear as headings and subheadings, divided into ** chapters, grouped into ** sections. The six digits can be divided into three parts. The first two digits (***).

The Harmonized System was introduced in ...


6.1 Segmentation of actors

  • Johnson Apparelmaster
  • JSP Safety Products
  • WearWell Limited
  • NDC Workwear
  • Honeywell
  • Portwest
  • MSA Safety
  • VF Corporation
  • Mapa
  • Aramark
  • Fristads Kansas Group
  • Rentolik Initial
  • Main Man Supplies
  • StyfiffTech
  • Wearable Link

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chargé d'études économiques, Xerfi

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Associate Consultant

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Education Formation
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PhD Industrial transformations

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Ross Alumni Club France

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Analyste de marché chez Businesscoot

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