Consumers hoarding £24 billion worth of unused clothes

British consumers have more than £24 billion worth of clothes and accessories that have remained unused in the past 12 months. This is according to our new research released this week.

Our consumer research project was conducted by Opinium via a poll survey of 2,000 UK adults. 

The study showed that on average, UK residents had a minimum of £485 worth of clothes, shoes, bags and accessories that remain unused in their wardrobes. The 55+ age group were the most likely to have the highest value of unworn items.

Women were more likely to have a higher amount stashed away with a staggering £555 on average, while the men were hot on their heels, with £435. Shockingly, five per cent of those surveyed admitted to having more than £1,000 worth of unused clothes.

Nearly a quarter of people (22%) say they have no unused clothes, despite the fact there has been limited opportunity to get out and about. 

Geographically there were some interesting variations, with the stats showing Londoners had the highest average at £623 of unused items, followed by Liverpool at £554. Brighton was the most conservative city, with just £289 of unused items.

Other major cities showed Leeds £519, Norwich £465, Sheffield £463, Newcastle £452, Manchester £434, Bristol £394 and Southampton £388.  


    Founder of Instrument, Vidas Urbutis, said he was not surprised by the results.

    “Many weeks of lockdowns, working from home and a lack of events means there are now billions of pounds worth of unused clothes gathering dust. Our stats have shown the impact of Covid-19 on our wardrobes, with the average Brit having £189 of unused clothes, £114 in unused coats, £109 of unworn shoes and £73 worth of unused bags.

    “Fashion is a passion of many people in the UK, and just because events were cancelled doesn’t mean people don’t like to make an effort with their appearance.It’s great to see people are still making plans to get out and about now lockdown has eased, and looking forward to getting dressed up in all these unused outfits. 

    “Hopefully, if their wardrobes start to creak under all this extra weight, they’ll know to come to Instrument for good quality closets that won’t buckle under the pressure!”