The impact of COVID-19 upon hosiery has been diverse, with non-sheer hosiery seeing a relatively slight decline in volume and sheer hosiery suffering a double-digit decline in 2020. Whereas sheer hosiery had been performing well in the two years prior to 2020 in the context of fashion trends favouring patterned-tights, the pandemic had a very strong negative impact on the category as the lockdown occurred during the key season for tights (January to late April); that took a toll upon sales when consumers stayed at home, as women that normally wear sheer hosiery to work and on social occasions no longer had occasion to wear it.
Although non-sheer hosiery remained relatively resilient during the pandemic, as cosy socks and slipper socks were much in demand during the lockdown, fashion socks saw a strong decline in sales for the same reasons as sheer hosiery: during the peak season, consumers stayed at home and therefore did not spend on fashion socks. Basic socks posted an increase in sales over the year, and of course due to their wider use while the lockdown was in place there was an increase in sales of fluffy bedroom socks and slipper socks as well, as a consequence of consumers spending more time at home, and seeking comfort.
In Greece hosiery is a category favoured by latest fashion trends, and therefore sales are anticipated to recover in 2021 as people’s work and social lives continue returning to normal. Given that trends favour fashion tights with patterns and prints and fancy socks, the category’s value is also expected to show immediate signs of recovery, driven by greater demand from women.
Over the forecast period, both sheer and non-sheer hosiery are set to post higher volume and value CAGRs than those seen over the review period. Men’s hosiery is set to decline in value as men that do not see socks as a fashion items will be more willing to trade down to basic items compared to women, who see socks and tights as a low-cost item to pump their outfits.
Informal retailing is expected to pose a greater challenge to hosiery over the forecast period, as socks and tights are widely available in the country’s ubiquitous outdoor markets, where street vendors offering unbranded products at low prices can be found in most major cities. With economic uncertainty persisting (and exacerbated by job losses related to the pandemic), informal retailing of hosiery is anticipated to gain further ground, especially amongst lower-income groups as purchasing power, if not reduced, will nevertheless remain at low levels for a large swath of consumers.
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This report originates from Passport, our Hosiery research and analysis database.
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