Although the birth rate fell over the review period spending on childrenswear actually increased, boosted in part by the growing number of women joining the workforce. However, the weak economy coupled with the rise in VAT took its toll in 2018 with the category seeing a decline in retail volume terms.
Many middle- and higher-income consumers continued to look for aspirational brands in 2018, despite the tough economic climate. Childrenswear from fast fashion brands such as Cotton On Kids and H&M, for example, is priced higher than products from local value retailers, but many consumers still demand such brands as they perceive them to be of a higher quality.
Young, educated parents are becoming increasingly interested in fashion, not just for themselves but also for their children, with this being driven in part by digital and social media, with proud parents sharing pictures of their children on sites such as Facebook and Instagram. One trend that has remained relevant in line with this is the mini-me trend in which parents match their children’s outfits with their own.
Local players retained the lead in childrenswear in 2018 with Edcon, Mr Price, Woolworths, Pepkor Holdings and Truworths Group accounting for the top five places in the rankings. While Edcon continued to struggle in 2018 with it closing stores across the country, the other four players all benefited from their offer of good value childrenswear.
Fast fashion also had a growing influence on childrenswear in 2018 with players including Cotton On Kids and H&M both performing well. These retailers are available in large shopping malls across the country and offer both fashionable items as well as basic ranges which are affordable and of a good quality.
Childrenswear is highly fragmented in South Africa, with cheap unbranded clothing from Asian countries being popular amongst low- and middle-income consumers who have been hard hit by the country’s weak economy. Unbranded childrenswear is sold at highly competitive prices and is popular among low-income families.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Apparel and Footwear market research database.