Summary of our market study

The global workwear market, valued at $29.1 billion in 2020, is expected to expand at a CAGR of 4.3% up to 2027, as reported by StrategyR. Apparel, accounting for 75% of the market's total value in 2020, is complemented by a faster-growing footwear segment with a 5.5% CAGR. The United States held a 30% share of the global market in 2020, with Japan and China predicted to experience CAGRs of 4.2% and 4.1%, respectively. Meanwhile, the UK workwear market evidences more modest growth, with workwear imports growing at a CAGR of 3.6%. The UK market, influenced by occupational safety regulations, exhibits a strong local market with fragmented players, including demand determinants such as a growing labor force, private sector activity in industries like construction and healthcare, and evolving safety standards. Notably, men's workwear dominates the UK market, comprising 81% of workwear imports, and despite a decline in market share, women's workwear saw a significant rise in average import price.

Dynamics and Trends in the UK Workwear Market In recent years

The UK workwear market has shown a complex landscape of growing demand, influenced by multiple factors. The UK, as one of the largest workwear consumers in Europe, highlights a demand driven by a substantial labor force. The active population has seen a significant upswing, standing between 25 and 35 million in recent years, with the employment rate of women reaching record highs, indicating an expansive market base for workwear providers. The private sectors, particularly the industrial and hospitality industries, play a pivotal role in workwear demand, with construction and manufacturing alone accounting for about 20% of the UK workwear market. However, the public sector's influence cannot be overlooked, as fluctuations in the workforce numbers, such as the declining number of police officers and firefighters, also impact demand. Regulatory standards have been and continue to be a prime determinant of workwear demand. With safety at the workplace becoming a paramount concern, the regulations that dictate the required personal protective equipment are inevitably widening the customer base and product offerings.

Despite these influences on demand, the market primarily caters to male workers, with men's workwear imports constituting around 80% of the total, compared to roughly 20% for women. Interestingly, this trend has been rising notably, simultaneously witnessing the average import price for women's workwear climbing upwards due to increased specialization and quality. Economic cycles play a fundamental role in shaping demand, with national economic growth correlating to rising employment levels, thereby increasing the need for workwear. Regional economies similarly affect local demand, with factors such as coastal tourism and urbanization projects driving the need for specialized work clothing. The British production of workwear is a mix of homegrown and globally sourced materials, with cotton, polyester, and other fibers crafted into garments through a meticulous production chain.

Although the UK's total manufacturer sales of workwear items reached figures between 100 and 150 million GBP, it's a market that's still catching up to its past stature from the late 2000s. Examining the market trends, innovation and comfort stand out, with a push towards lighter, yet protective garments driving advancements in textile technology and design, as producers strive to combine ease of wear with safety. Multi-functional clothing and recycled materials similarly reflect the market's response to the need for versatile, environmentally-responsible products. In conclusion, the UK's workwear market reflects a nuanced balance of growth and traditionalism, with a strong leaning towards male.

Key Market Leaders and Innovators in the UK Workwear Industry The UK workwear market is a dynamic landscape featuring a blend of well-established national giants, international behemoths, and cutting-edge innovators that are driving growth and setting trends in the industry.

National Players Making Their Mark

  • At the forefront of the UK's national workwear scene is Johnson Apparelmaster, a heavyweight in workwear solutions known for providing a comprehensive range of garments tailored to meet industry-specific needs.
  • JSP Safety Products stands out notably, as a trusted manufacturer of safety equipment,
  • WearWell Limited has carved out a reputation for high-quality, durable workwear. NDC Workwear further amplifies the local market with its specialized manufacturing prowess.

Global Giants Leading the Charge

  • The international segment is dominated by Aramark, a U.S. giant offering extensive services that go beyond workwear to encompass food, facilities, and uniforms.
  • VF Corporation, another titan from the States, boasts a wide portfolio of brands and is recognized for its innovation in designing apparel including workwear.
  • MSA Safety, known primarily for its safety products, is an active global player in providing protective industrial gear.
  • Fristads Kansas Group from Norway merges traditional workwear with contemporary designs for a wide range of industries.
  • Irish-based company Portwest emerges as a key player with its range of protective clothing and workwear serving various markets.
  • France's Mapa is not left behind, known for its robust protective gloves and clothing. Honeywell, a household name in various sectors, also contributes significantly with its safety and productivity solutions, including workwear.
  • Specialists Streamlining Distribution
  • The UK is also home to distribution specialists such as Rentokil Initial, which specializes in the direct sale of workwear and associated services like rental and maintenance.
  • Main Man Supplies is another significant name in distribution, tailoring its services to provide companies with a wide array of workwear options.

Innovation at the Forefront

  • When it comes to innovation, StyffiffTech and Wearable Link are the emerging names worthy of note. These companies are at the cutting edge, integrating smart technologies into workwear, which is a telling sign of the industry's direction towards embracing digitalization and tech-augmented apparel.

Manufacturing Spread Across the Nation

  • The geographic distribution of workwear production in the UK is concentrated primarily in England, but the entire United Kingdom contributes through various regional hubs. With significant turnovers reported across Southern regions and the North-West, these areas are pivotal to the industry's economic output and employment.
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1 Market summary

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 Demand analysis

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 Market structure

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 Analysis of the offer

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 Rules and regulations

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 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Segmentation of actors

  • Johnson Apparelmaster
  • JSP Safety Products
  • WearWell Limited
  • NDC Workwear
  • Portwest
  • MSA Safety
  • VF Corporation
  • Mapa (Jarden Group)
  • Fristads Kansas Group
  • Main Man Supplies
  • StyfiffTech
  • Wearable Link
  • Aramark UK
  • Rentokil Initial

List of charts presented in this market study

  • [Copy] Size of the global workwear market
  • [Copy] Breakdown of workwear market by segment
  • TCAM attendus pour le marché du vêtement de travail par pays
  • [Copy] Workwear imports by region origin
  • [Copy] Breakdown of EU's workwear exports by country
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Latest news

Hygiene, Rentokil. The frog and the rat | Hygiene and pests - 15/12/2021
  • European pest control champion increases sales by 9.9% a year
  • 228 acquisitions in the last seven years.
  • The company's share price has quintupled during this period
  • The company acquired the second-largest US pest control player, Terminix, for $6.7 billion.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Johnson Apparelmaster
JSP Safety Products
WearWell Limited
NDC Workwear
Portwest
MSA Safety
VF Corporation
Mapa (Jarden Group)
Fristads Kansas Group
Main Man Supplies
StyfiffTech
Wearable Link

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