Consumer & Retail
The UK retail sector has a worldwide reputation for heritage, innovation, craftsmanship, and is home to world-renowned brands as well as highly skilled talent. Hugely influenced by British heritage, pop culture and lifestyle, the UK offers premium product, which resonates not only in the UK, but to consumers in China and worldwide.
Value of the UK's retail industry
Forecasted growth of the UK's ecommerce market
Businesses in the UK retail sector
Luxury in London
London has several locations known for luxury retail. Savile Row is famous for its traditional men’s bespoke tailoring thanks to brands like Gieves & Hawkes.
Old Bond Street and New Bond Street have long been associated with luxury fashion. The area is home to the flagship stores of Mulberry, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson.
Heritage Tweed & Cashmere
The manufacture of high-quality knitwear and woollen apparel has long been associated with Scotland. Harris Tweed is exported to over 60 countries, highlighting it's international recognition.
Scottish cashmere, with craftsmanship perfected over 300 years, is another thriving sector built upon a guarantee of quality and luxury. One mill in the UK carries out the entire cashmere weaving process from raw fibre to finished garment.
Hatton Garden has historically been the centre of London’s jewellery trade. With almost 300 businesses and over 55 shops, it’s the largest and most concentrated cluster of jewellery retailers in the UK, and a top destination for wedding and engagement rings.
40% of the UK’s jewellery is made in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter. It covers 300 acres and includes over 100 specialist jewellery retailers, workshops, designers and craftspeople.
Craftmanship and Heritage
Craftsmanship, creativity and quality are pillars of the UK's retail industry. Northampton, a city in the north of England is renowned for leather and shoemaking with famous names such as Church's and Trickers continuing to thrive. Harris Tweed, famed for its unique pattern and heritage, is still hand-woven by islanders in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. There are a number of British brands available to consumers who appreciate heritage and quality.
Natural and Sustainable
Being ethical, sustainable and organic has always been important to British retail brands. Beauty brands such as Lush and the Body Shop champion natural and organic ingredients whilst being cruelty free. Clean beauty is incorporated into many of the UK's beauty and skincare brands, and is now becoming a global trend. As more and more consumers continue to pursue ethical and sustainablity product, British brands provide huge opportunity.
Businesses friendly environment
The UK has a friendly business environment, is the 5th largest economy in the world and ranked 8th for ease of doing business. Its location and accessibility to the world allows for easy global transport connectively and collaboration. UK is the 5th largest industrial country and will be in the top 5 in 2021. There is opportunity for Chinese businesses to take advantage of the UK's favourable business environment and policies.
Advanced Retail Tech
With the UK a leader in retail technology, there is strong digital and physical infrastructure with the UK ranked 1st for network readiness as per the World Economic Forum - Measuring capacity to use information and communication technology to promote growth and social wellbeing. The UK's built environment is ready for trade and investment.
As a fashion industry leader, the UK hosts one of the ''Big Four'' fashion shows, London Fashion Week, with international brands such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Paul Smith and Ted Baker all representing the UK.
British brands have strong design foundations, and use advanced manufacturing to produce products with craftsmanship and creativity. This has always been an advantage of the British fashion industry, from high street to luxury, and small medium enterprises to multinational businesses.
Home to some of the most famous fashion design schools, there is also no shortage of creative talent to continue influencing global fashion and maintaining its status as a key fashion destination.
The UK’s beauty industry is at the forefront of ethical and sustainable product. Already part of many British beauty brands core values, brands such as Lush and The Body Shop continue to attract consumer attention with quality as well as being environmental friendly and cruelty free.
UK beauty brands cater for all consumers, from anti-aging serums to fragrances and male skincare. There are a large number of British brands with great history and story, able to take advantage current consumer trends and increasing global demand for British goods.
Home and lifestyle
The UK has a long history of craftsmanship, and industries can be traced back centuries, covering porcelain, textiles, wool, leather as well as many others. With the rapid development of design today, British brands still manage to adhere to traditional craftsmanship, being hand-made, and many brands have been certified Royal Warrant Holders, in recognition of quality and supplying the Royal family.
Home to bone china, the top ten bone china factories in the world are located in the UK. Iconic brands Wedgewood, Royal Crown Derby and Denby showcase classic design and the best of British porcelain.
With artistic heritage and many renowned design colleges, the UK has strength in the home and interior industry. From unique to commercial, classic to modern design, British brands meet the needs of businesses and consumers at all stages, with brands such as Dyson market industry leaders.
Mother and baby
Recognised for focusing on product quality and safety, British manufacturers and brands in the mother & baby sector have global importance. Safety combined with user friendly design is essential for today’s modern consumer, and British brands such as Silvercross constantly innovate to provide best in class product.
In addition, educational toys and maternal feeding products are accelerating their entry into the China market, with growing consumer demand for experience and increased quality of life. British mother & baby brands are well positioned to take advantage of exporting opportunities here, as well as in natural, organic, and health related consumer product and food sectors.
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