All product segments within designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) registered their sharpest sales declines in recent history in 2020, as efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 forced the closure of, or contributed to reduced foot traffic to, the category’s largest store-based retail channels throughout much of the year. With lockdowns lasting from mid-March until at least May or June in many states, the closure of apparel and footwear specialist retailers, classified as non-grocery specialist retailers, as well as department stores, classified as mixed retailers, prevented consumers from trying on and purchasing designer apparel and footwear in stores during this time, while increased hygiene and social distancing protocols in stores, as well as boarded-up storefronts in major cities during periods of civil unrest, led to a reduction in foot traffic to stores throughout the remainder of the year.
Despite having strong presences across e-commerce and digital marketing platforms, enabling them to advertise and sell to domestic consumers while in-store shopping has been restricted, leading designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) players, including 2019 leader Ralph Lauren, as well Michael Kors, Burberry, and more, saw sales in 2020 especially impacted by the reduction in foreign expenditure brought about by travel restrictions. While international retail expenditure typically represents over 44% of total designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) sales in the US, this fell to just over 31% of a much lower total in 2020 as international and domestic travel restrictions, as well as limitations to the in-store shopping experience, prevented wealthy international students and travellers, key drivers of designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) sales, from visiting large cities and other tourist destinations across the US to shop for and try-on products in person.
Further reducing demand for designer apparel and footwear was a lack of consumer need amid not only lockdowns and quarantines, but also throughout the rest of the year as consumers spent significantly more time at home than in a typical year. Without a need to dress up for work, dining out, or large social events and gatherings throughout much of the year as a result of office and restaurant closures and event cancellations, consumers with discretionary income purchased goods and services to help make their increased time spent at home more comfortable, such as food and alcohol delivery, furniture, home décor and home entertainment systems, in addition to allocating more of their money to savings, instead of designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) products.
While remote work, store closures, travel restrictions and the postponements or cancellations of large, in-person social events significantly lowered sales of designer apparel and footwear across the category in 2020, it is expected to recover to pre-pandemic retail value sales levels over the forecast period, with both designer apparel (ready-to-wear) and designer footwear returning to 2019-level value sales by 2023/2024. However, neither designer apparel (ready-to-wear) nor designer footwear are expected to recover 2019-level volume sales over the forecast period as a result of shifting consumer spending priorities and shopping habits.
As many consumers’ only available sales channel for designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) throughout much of 2020, the dramatic boost in both e-commerce penetration and value sales came as consumers, often motivated by free shipping and returns, became increasingly comfortable researching, shopping for, and purchasing high-priced apparel and footwear items online, with many doing so for the first time. With more consumers than ever before now comfortable shopping for designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) products online through pure play e-commerce retailers and marketplaces such as Farfetch and Richemont’s Net-A-Porter, which also offer helpful sizing and styling guides, luxury brands’ own e-commerce sites, similar to that of Burberry, and the e-commerce sites of department stores such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, the growth of the online sales channel is only expected to accelerate moving forward, largely at the expense of store-based retailers.
In addition to increasing unit prices and the increasing importance of e-commerce in driving both sales and product discovery, the forecast outlook for designer apparel and footwear (ready-to-wear) will also be determined by a number of wider consumer trends that have come to the forefront amid the pandemic, chief among them interest in the resale market. Offering value for money, environmental merits and the opportunity to find vintage and unique pieces, in addition to sold-out, limited edition products such as the Jordan 1 Retro High Dior sneaker and other designer collaborations, the resale market has been growing in popularity across both luxury and non-luxury apparel and footwear categories in recent years.
Files are delivered directly into your account soon after payment is received and any tax is certification is verified (where applicable).
Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Designer Apparel and Footwear (Ready-to-Wear) industry in USA with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
Key trends are clearly and succinctly summarised alongside the most current research data available. Understand and assess competitive threats and plan corporate strategy with our qualitative analysis, insight and confident growth projections.
If you're in the Designer Apparel and Footwear (Ready-to-Wear) industry in USA, our research will help you to make informed, intelligent decisions; to recognise and profit from opportunity, or to offer resilience amidst market uncertainty.
This report originates from Passport, our Designer Apparel and Footwear (Ready-to-Wear) research and analysis database.
If you purchase a report that is updated in the next 60 days, we will send you the new edition and data extract FREE! Home Page