Online beachwear retailer Coco Bay said its kaftan sales grew 340% in December, compared to the same period in 2012, with the top-selling kaftan outselling the top-selling bikini by 45%.
The company puts the results down to changing consumer travel habits and an influx of beach outerwear flooding into the UK from Australia, giving customers more choice.
"I think climate indirectly has a lot to do with it,” said Coco Bay co-founder Belinda Robinson. "Many of the top international swimwear designers including Seafolly, Baku and Jets come from Australia and are therefore predominantly designing with the Australian woman in mind who is only too aware of the sun’s dangers and likes to cover-up stylishly.”
The sale of kaftans and cover-ups at Coco Bay led to an overall sales increase of 15% in December from a year earlier.
"Many of the kaftans are designed to mix and match with the swimwear so customers are buying into the whole look,” added Robinson.
“I think it is also about the type of holidays people are going on. People are going to up market resorts where the ‘beach to bar’ wardrobe really comes into its own. Also, many customers are visiting countries and cultures where it is not acceptable to stroll in to the restaurant semi-naked so that elegant cover-up is a must-have.”