The premium market will enjoy the strongest growth in the clothing sector over the next three years, helped by the influence of princess-to-be Kate Middleton, according to new research.

By 2014 the premium segment is expected to be worth an estimated £8.6bn, an increase of £1.9bn (29%) from today’s estimated value of £6.7bn, according to the study carried out by Verdict on behalf of Barclays Corporate.

The so-called ‘Middleton effect’ has already caused key pieces from Reiss and Whistles collections’ to sell-out after she wore them in her official engagement photos.

“Kate Middleton is expected to do for many British High Street names what Michelle Obama did for J Crew in the US,” said Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe.

“Shoppers really get inspired by these big glossy images of her in styles which are very accessible.”

The premium market has defied recessionary trends in the fashion sector, with a 6.2% increase in growth over the past two years as consumers tended to buy fewer, more expensive items.

The research also said the tendency towards the premium section of the market has been aided by an ageing population in Britain who prioritise quality and service over price.

As a whole, the clothing industry is expected to see real growth of 9% by 2014.