With large swathes of Swedish society refraining from making non-essential visits to retail outlets in 2020, retailers were not able to prevent the near-collapse of physical retail sales of apparel. Jeans is a product that most consumers prefer to try on before purchasing, thanks to differences in quality between brands and stores and poor standardisation of sizes (there can be significant size differences between same-size items across brands).
Several important players had moved in and out of bankruptcy and undergone reconstruction prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which effectively stopped many ongoing rebranding and re-launching processes. As consumers deferred making new purchases, jeans manufacturers also delayed attempts to drive new sales and focused instead on ensuring profit margins in new brands and selling off existing stocks at significantly lower prices.
International premium brand Levi’s maintained its lead in jeans in 2020 thanks to its strong brand recognition and reputation as being of high quality. Levi’s also offers frequent discounting, while its business model includes distribution by Levi Strauss Sweden to 23 retail stores managed by regional player Varner Brand Stores, which has good experience of the local economy.
Jeans was reaching a stage of consolidation and contraction before the pandemic, and as companies close stores and focus on restructuring and profit margins rather than prioritising growth, this is expected to stifle the recovery of jeans in the short term, prolonging the downturn initiated by COVID-19. However, as the economy begins to recover and Swedes are able to shop in physical retail outlets more freely, jeans will see steady growth from 2022 onwards.
Jeans is a highly standardised category, with small perceived differences between different types of brands and price levels. The situation resembles that of near-perfect competition, which will undercut recovery.
Jeans’ poor performance in 2020 can be partly attributed to the athleisure trend, which continued to gain ground. Many Swedish men also returned to wearing trousers rather than jeans, and there were other variants of trousers for men, such as chinos, suit trousers or more functional attire.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Jeans industry in Sweden 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.
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This report originates from Passport, our Jeans research and analysis database.
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