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Apparel and Footwear: Beyond the Pandemic

February 2022

The impact of the pandemic on the apparel and footwear industry has been such that market players are now reassessing standard operating procedures in place, from manufacturing to retail, as they need to adapt to new post-pandemic consumer lifestyles (e.g., working from home) retail preferences (e.g., digital-first mindset) or travel patterns (e.g., shifting consumption from European capitals to Chinese duty-free locations).

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Key findings

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change in apparel and footwear

The apparel and footwear industry has been among the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted work-life-consumption patterns globally. As the recovery gathers steam, new flexible operating models, targeted incentives for consumers and new product innovation will be critical in ensuring success.

The competitive landscape will be profoundly changed post-pandemic

M&A and divestment activity are accelerating as underperforming players become targets, while companies are on the lookout for new routes to market, seeking to digitally transform their operations, or to gain access to growth hotspots. Private equity funds are looking at post-crisis opportunities.

A digital-first mindset is part of the new normal

Digitalisation is completely changing the nature of traditional processes, and global sales of apparel and footwear via e- and s-commerce are set to further accelerate as companies invest in their digital transformation to innovate in terms of products and the customer experience, and to optimise their production and distribution.

Redesigning global supply chains to prevent future shocks

The apparel and footwear industry is having to fundamentally rethink its supply chains, as the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis and ensuing reputational backlash and shortages lead fashion players to consider a shorter supply chain, closer to end consumers, to mitigate risks.

Circularity, rental and resale grow on the back of sustainability concerns

The global pandemic has highlighted the negative social and environmental impact of the industry, fuelling demand for more sustainable practices, while consumers are rapidly embracing renting and resale, boosting the prospects of new business models beyond ownership.

Scope
Key findings
The World Beyond the Pandemic: The Big Picture
Future of globalisation
Future of work and education
Future priorities and preferences
What does the World Beyond the Pandemic mean for apparel and footwear?
How COVID-19 changed apparel and footwear
Routes to disruption
Long-term impacts of COVID-19 on apparel and footwear
Accelerated digitalisation: from e-commerce to t he Internet of Things
Supply chains reboot: e fforts to diversify sourcing to change the manufacturing landscape
Supply chains reboot: boosting digitalisation across the supply chain
Towards more circularity: the pressure from consumers and regulators grows
Major behavioural shifts shaping long-term consumption
Home-centric lifestyles force fashion players to rethink their engagement strategies
Focus on physical and emotional wellbeing: demand for comfort and versatility here to stay
Digital living: from direct-to-consumer (D2C) to direct-to-avatar (D2A)
Social and environmental responsibility: now at the top of the fashion agenda
Challenges to overcome
Key areas of opportunity
Companies are meeting the needs of consumers using various strategies
adidas increases its focus on DTC strategy to boost its brand desirability
H&M Group pushes international expansion of Sellpy in the midst of COVID-19
Walmart offers virtual fitting room Zeekit and ThredUp second-hand items to crack fashion
C&A: initiative to reshore production to Germany and gain in agility
Gap Inc: E-commerce growth creates the need for more automated distribution centres
Amazon and Uniqlo explore micro-fulfilment and on-demand production
Nike and Roblox create a virtual world called Nikeland
Start-up Genies is creating an avatar platform where users can buy and sell digital items
Apparel and footwear beyond the pandemic
Key learnings for apparel and footwear
Become tomorrow’s next leader

Apparel and Footwear

Apparel is the aggregation of clothing and footwear. This dataset covers retail sales of apparel through both store-based retailers and non-store retailers. Excludes black market sales (i.e. untaxed, generated within informal retailing)and duty free sales (travel retail). Items must be new when sold to the consumer; second-hand/used items are excluded. Antique and/or vintage clothing and footwear is also excluded.

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