In the very fragmented apparel and footwear industry, top competitors either shape or embrace the key trends driving sales growth. COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of the industry across the supply chain. The world post-pandemic is one where consumers’ habits and needs have changed, and this challenges companies to respond quickly and adapt their strategies to survive. Three trends have gained relevance: digitalisation, price and value for money, and sustainable and ethical.
Companies are being forced to rethink their strategies after COVID-19 exposed the fragility of the industry across the supply chain. The narrative in fashion is also changing to reflect newly emerging priorities and consumer spending patterns through the lens of COVID-19. Digitalisation, price and value for money, and a redefined view of sustainability are expected to shape the industry moving forward.
The pandemic has generated further momentum for the already rapidly growing e-commerce channel. Brands and retailers alike are being forced to develop or strengthen their digital strategies to respond to the new environment. From subscription services to curated products to digital engagement, companies are focused on create a unique shopping experience both in stores and online.
The widespread global recession and rising unemployment rates will make price and value for money much more important for consumers. Unbranded products and private label could benefit from offering basic items at low prices amid the depressed economic environment. Discounts and promotions were already a common marketing strategy in the industry, but the pandemic has pushed the limits further as companies aim to get rid of inventory. Brands across the price spectrum have used discounting despite the risk of harming margins and brand equity.
Consumers prioritise brands holding sustainability as a purpose. From adjustments to their supply chain to launching upcycled garments, companies are stepping up their eco-friendly commitments. Sustainability is no longer an option but a must, and consumers expect ever more from their brands. Consumers will choose brands that commit to the greater good, brands that take a stand on social issues, brands with purpose, and brands with values aligned to theirs.
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