Costa Rica continues to see international apparel and footwear brands push into the country, helped in part by its high levels of inbound tourism from Nort America. AR Holdings, which develops, operates, and invests in retail franchises across Latin America has revived its expansion strategy in Central America in 2021.
Omnichannel continues to grow in 2021 in Costa Rica, helped in large part by physical retailers having to adapt during lockdown. Although by no means fully developed (many stores do not yet have e-commerce capability), smaller boutiques are increasingly beginning to create online stores, and using non-proprietary sites like WhatsApp to reach out to consumers.
Most low-income consumers in Costa Rica tend to shop at second hand stores; price sensitivity among this cohort is acute, and the economic impact of the pandemic has only made this worse. Unemployment continues to rise, and in addition prices are rising due to logistic problems for imports; this means even fewer consumers are able to afford new clothing.
Sportswear will continue to be one of the most dynamic parts of the apparel and footwear specialist retailers’ channel over the forecast period, driven by very high levels of brand equity and the country’s large population of Gen Z and millennial consumers. As in other countries, globalised media and fashion trends characterise the Costa Rican apparel and footwear landscape, and there is very high brand loyalty to global brands regardless of socioeconomic status; Nike, Adidas, New Balance and Puma are the strongest benefactors of this trend.
International brand operators are expected to continue growing their share of apparel and footwear specialist retailer sales in Costa Rica over the forecast period. However, the continued expansion of international brands in the country is expected to squeeze local independent boutique out of the channel.
Costa Rica continues to have a comparatively limited offer of luxury brands, despite a strong tourist industry and a small but wealthy upper class. Salvatore Ferragamo and Furla closed their stores before the pandemic, and there has been no sign of a return of luxury options in the country.
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Apparel and footwear specialists are chained or independent retail outlets with a primary focus on selling one or more of the following categories: clothing, footwear, and/or fashion accessories (costume jewellery, sunglasses, belts, hats, gloves, handbags, scarves, etc.). Apparel specialists include specialty apparel like wedding dress shops. Example brands include Primark, TJ Maxx, and Zara. Sportswear retailers, such as Adidas and Nike, are excluded from this channel and are included in Sports Goods Stores; this is due to the companies considering themselves sports companies as opposed to apparel companies.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Apparel and Footwear Specialists research and analysis database.
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