Poles spend up to 10% of their monthly income on clothes. They do their shopping mainly in popular chain stores.

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Poles are moderately interested in fashion. They focus on the informal style, buying mainly in chain stores, usually spending up to 10% of their monthly income on clothing purchases. The factors determining the choice of a particular product are primarily the cut and price of the product. Over 40% of consumers admit that they buy clothes at least once a month. Half of the respondents have purchased clothes or shoes over the Internet in the last six months, usually guided by savings and convenience - according to the latest report "Fashion Market in Poland", prepared by KPMG in cooperation with Lazarski University's Academy of Business and Fashion Law.

The Polish clothing and textile sector experienced a collapse in 2009, but since then its value sold has been growing steadily, in 2016 it amounted to over PLN 29 billion. At that time 22 thousand companies were operating in this industry, employing over 187.6 thousand people. The value of exports in the clothing sector is about PLN 3 billion, while imports of clothing products reached PLN 1.4 billion. Although the domestic clothing market is growing into one of the most attractive in Central and Eastern Europe, Poles are quite moderately interested in fashion. They approach clothing purchases in a rational and thoughtful way, mainly based on the quality of clothing and its price.

- We are a pragmatic nation, we make sure that our clothes are comfortable and functional. The casual outfit is predominant, which is informal. We also pay attention to the price of the product. We are still very prone to price promotions, we are looking for products that are worth their price," says Newseria Biznes news agency Maciej Szatkowski, senior manager in the consulting services department at KPMG.

KPMG's report "Fashion market in Poland 2018", which was carried out in cooperation with Lazarski University's Academy of Business and Fashion Law, shows that only every eighth Pole tries to combine different styles of clothing, paying attention to changing trends. Poles look for inspiration by browsing through the current collections of clothing companies, only every fifth of them follow fashion blogs, social media of famous influencers or fashion shows. The most frequently purchased items of clothing include everyday clothes and underwear. Shoes Poles buy once every six months, very rarely decide to buy such accessories as handbag or jewelry. More than 40% of those surveyed by KPMG stated that they buy clothes at least once a month.

- The research conducted by KPMG in Poland shows that Poles spend up to 10% of their income on their clothing needs, such data were received in nearly 50% of the indications, while another 1/4 of the respondents stated that they spend no more than 1/4 of their income - says Maciej Szatkowski.

Less than 30% of respondents admitted that their wardrobe contains clothes they consider luxurious, most often outerwear (including furs), suits and dresses. On average, the Poles surveyed spent 1,403 PLN on this type of clothing elements. A vast majority of Poles go shopping for clothes to popular chain stores, over 30% buy in discount stores, while 28% choose second-hand establishments. The popularity of boutiques offering product brands is growing. Half of the respondents have bought clothes or shoes online in the last six months.

- The main barrier that prevents Poles from shopping on the Internet is the inability to physically check the product, try it on, see what material it is made of, what quality it is made of - says Maciej Szatkowski.

As the KPMG report shows, Poles are quite distrustful of modern technologies in fashion. 70 percent of those surveyed by KPMG admitted that they never used such tools as an internet fitting room, digital mirror or virtual stylist while browsing the offer of online stores. Only one in four people (27% of indications) happened to see the products through 360° view. Most companies operating in the clothing and footwear industry introduce new technologies in both production and sales processes. In the case of production, these are mainly modern machines allowing for process automation. The technologies used in sales are primarily order handling through various types of e-commerce platforms.

The fashion industry, both in Poland and worldwide, is currently undergoing significant changes. This is due to the development of modern technologies, which allow to manage the assortment differently than before. They eliminate restrictions related to sales space, thus allowing for the expansion of the assortment, allowing for the personalisation of products and for the design of clothing or footwear by the consumer. The development of modern technologies forces changes in the business model of companies producing and selling clothing, and through the creation of new marketing tools increases the demand for new specialists.

- The fashion industry is increasingly using new technologies in both production and sales. New technologies are used to win customers, create a brand image or simply improve everyday business operations. The impact of technological progress creates an urgent need for workers with knowledge and skills in this area. For obvious reasons, the educational market should keep up with technological changes and take them into account in the educational process - says Agnieszka Oleksyn-Wajda, legal counsel, head of the Academy of Business and Fashion Law at Lazarski University.

Education is one of the most important challenges facing the Polish fashion industry. The system of education and development of relevant competences of the sector's employees determines its stable growth and position in the foreign markets. Newly emerging professions are often incomprehensible and do not have a proper classification, e.g. in the Classification of Occupations and Specialities mentioned by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy. This makes it impossible to recognise learning outcomes obtained outside formal education and to compare qualifications obtained in Poland with those awarded in other European Union Member States.

- The elements influencing the dynamic development of the fashion industry are at the same time those factors which make it difficult to match the educational offer with the needs of the labour market. New professions and specializations on the market are being developed faster than educational programs developed by schools. It is also a challenge for education to ensure the standardisation of the educational programmes offered. This translates into ensuring a stable and undisturbed presence of specialisations on the market and their quality - says Agnieszka Oleksyn-Wajda.

The full results of the report prepared by KPMG in cooperation with Lazarski University's Academy of Business and Fashion Law were presented at the Fashion Economy Moda 4.0 conference. The report in electronic form can be downloaded from kpmg.pl and fe.ckp.lazarski.pl.