After persistently strong sales growth over the historic period, childrenswear saw a retail value decline in 2020 in Asia Pacific, as Coronavirus (COVID-19) hit the region. However, as children continued to outgrow their clothing and with parents more disposed to maintain their spending on their offspring than themselves, childrenswear actually turned in one of the better performances in apparel and footwear in 2020. Asia Pacific is also expected to see an immediate recovery from 2021.
In spite of falling birth rates in many countries in the region, including the two biggest markets, childrenswear continued to record healthy growth rates up to 2020 in Asia Pacific. One of the main reasons for this is that parents are generally increasing spend per child, which has been helping maintain positive growth rates in real value terms.
Childrenswear sales were negatively affected by the pandemic in 2020, with the shutdown of non-essential retail outlets, lockdowns and other measures to slow the spread of the virus restricting shopping opportunities. There was also the economic impact of these measures, making consumers more price sensitive. Nevertheless, childrenswear was one of the least badly hit categories in overall apparel and footwear, given parents tend to reduce spending on themselves before cutting back expenditure on their children as well as the fact that children quickly outgrow their clothing.
Although store-based retailing continues to dominate apparel sales in Asia Pacific, e-commerce, already seeing healthy annual growth rates prior to the pandemic, received a major boost from the closure of non-essential retail outlets and people unable or unwilling to leave their homes. The strong growth of internet retailing meant that it overtook apparel and footwear specialist retailers to become the leading distribution channel in 2020.
Childrenswear will rebound with a strong positive growth rate in 2021, and, also in this year, will immediately return to its pre-pandemic sales level. Further strong growth will be seen over the rest of the forecast period, with China continuing to drive the overall regional performance.
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