Western European sales of apparel accessories were already falling prior to 2020, with the arrival of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region then resulting in significant declines in nearly all categories in 2020. The exception was other apparel accessories, with dynamic sales of reusable face masks managing to limit the overall market decline. Despite a rebound in the other categories in 2021, the overall forecast period performance will be a disappointing one for apparel accessories.
Apparel and footwear was already struggling before the pandemic in a number of countries in Western Europe, hit by increasing market saturation and competition from emerging players, as well as e-commerce also being an ever-growing threat to physical retailers.
All categories in apparel accessories, bar other apparel accessories, recorded steep declines in 2020, heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The extended closures of non-essential retail outlets was a major blow, with lockdowns and remote working also hurting the performances of these products. The measures to contain the spread of the virus also put pressure on households’ disposable incomes, with essential goods generally being prioritised.
Although store-based retailing continues to dominate Western European apparel sales, circumstances in 2020 were a real boon to e-commerce, which recorded very strong growth in its value sales share. Although consumers were still keen to see and try on apparel products before buying them, internet retailing represented an ideal solution for buying goods in lockdown or when looking to avoid going out in public because of the virus.
The categories recording strong declines in 2020 will see dynamic sales increases in 2021, driven by pent-up demand for store-based shopping among consumers and a hoped-for return to offices as well as going out to foodservice establishments and other entertainment venues. With the need for reusable face masks diminishing, other apparel accessories will go into decline from 2021, with steep falls expected from 2022, offsetting the growth seen in the other categories and resulting in declining overall sales in apparel accessories in 2022-2025.
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