When a Unidirectional fiber reinforced polymer (UDFRP) composite is subjected to transverse loading, there is spatial variation of stresses in the constituents. The failure in matrix initiates at the location of maximum stress. Stress distribution and failure initiation in constituents of UDFRP composites is usually studied through finite element (FE) analysis of representative volume element (RVE) which is computationally expensive and time consuming. The present study proposes an analytical model through which stress variation and failure initiation in the constituents of UDFRP composite can be obtained in simple and reliable way and it can be readily used in designing. For this model, RVE is idealized in the form of springs arranged in parallel and series. These springs represent the stiffness of constituents (fiber and matrix). The results of analytical model are compared with FE simulations and good agreement is observed. Influence of fiber volume fraction on failure initiation of UDFRP composites is also studied through FE analysis of RVE and analytical model. © 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.