The closure of non-essential stores including apparel and footwear specialist retailers due to the pandemic-induced lockdown in Australia in 2020 in addition to decreasing disposable incomes due to rising unemployment rates had a negative impact on sales of childrenswear, resulting in double-digit volume and current value declines. Furthermore, the home seclusion trend with many parents choosing not to send their children to educational institutions including pre-schools, with online classes offered instead, further reduced the need to invest in new clothing, particularly as younger children were more likely to have enjoyed time at home doing a range of activities such as crafting.
Concerns over sustainability within apparel and footwear was already emerging in Australia over the review period, a trend which was starting to have a negative impact on demand for boys’ and girls’ apparel with declining and stagnating volume sales, respectively in 2019. The lockdown gave parents a greater opportunity to declutter their children’s wardrobes, enabling them to not only sift through the amount of apparel and footwear which they has outgrown, but also assess the amount that they have been purchasing and how much is actually used, increasing concerns about the environment and how clothing or footwear is disposed of.
Childrenswear remained a highly fragmented competitive landscape in 2020, which saw the majority of players including overall leader Hanesbrands Inc (Bonds), record declining value sales, in line with the category’s weak performance. Nevertheless, Bond heavily advertises its children’s nightwear sets on its website, and promoted the fact that the Red Nose organisation, which is the country’s leading authority on safe sleep and safe pregnancy advice, officially named the brand as its preferred partner for its range of baby and toddler wear.
Childrenswear is predicted to record a notable upturn in demand in 2021/2022 before gradually returning to greater levels of normalisation in terms of consumers’ purchasing behaviour over the forecast period, although it is set to recover to pre-pandemic volume sales levels by 2025. The category offers plenty of potential for further development if players consider a change in parents’ attitudes towards their children’s clothing including sustainability and a willingness to invest in better quality, durable pieces which can be handed down to younger siblings or sold online after use.
The market for pre-loved childrenswear is likely to gain further traction over the forecast period. Since younger ages of children tend to quickly outgrow their clothing and the continual purchasing of clothing to meet this need can become expensive, an increasing number of Australians are choosing to purchase “pre-loved” clothing from online social media sites including Facebook, or littlesvintage and slowclubstore on Instagram, a trend also noted amongst some adults for their own clothing needs, particularly women.
E-commerce is likely to gain further value share in the distribution of childrenswear, offering time-repressed parents greater convenience in terms of home delivery, and price-sensitive consumers more competitive prices. These trends strengthened during the pandemic.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Childrenswear industry in Australia with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Childrenswear research and analysis database.
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