As large swathes of Swedish society refrained from making unnecessary visits to retail locations, Swedish apparel retailers saw the near-collapse of physical retail sales of apparel in 2020. However, childrenswear proved somewhat more resilient, as goods in this category are more closely driven by necessity and demographic factors than by temporary trends and indulgence.
Childrenswear in Sweden has been subject to much of the same kinds of pressure as other categories within apparel and footwear over the review period, namely price pressure, category saturation and gradually changing consumer patterns. As with adult apparel, consumer interest has shifted towards second-hand, slow fashion and sustainable consumption for middle- to high-income consumers, and towards convenient, affordable, rapid-service products for lower-income groups, and this polarisation makes it difficult for players to compete effectively.
Lindex Sverige, H&M Hennes & Mauritz Sverige and KappAhl Sverige were the three largest respective players in childrenswear in 2020, all holding double-digit value shares. Both H&M Hennes & Mauritz Sverige and KappAhl Sverige are domestic companies with a long-standing presence in Sweden, and they enjoy widespread loyalty from consumers.
Although some players, such as the recently bankrupted Polarn o Pyret, experienced significant difficulties in 2020, a return to normalcy is expected much sooner in childrenswear than in other adult apparel categories. Stores are already adapting towards sustainable consumption trends, integrating second-hand childrenswear into their marketing approaches and targeting lower-income consumers.
Although the outlook for childrenswear is comparatively positive, the category is still expected to see a long-term reduction in the maximum consumption levels. Price pressure is expected to remain significant, thanks to the extensive penetration and entrenchment of online retail, particularly on medium-priced niche products.
Second-hand sales of childrenswear are expected to become increasingly popular over the forecast period. Second-hand consumption has been widely accepted in Sweden for a long time but has grown as sustainability concerns have deepened.
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This report originates from Passport, our Childrenswear research and analysis database.
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