Sales of jeans in the UK suffered significant double-digit retail volume and current value declines in 2020 and into the early part of 2021, as lockdowns and social distancing led to store closures and home confinement for many consumers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers confined to their homes found themselves unable to socialise and work and go about their normal lives; therefore, they had fewer reasons to update their wardrobes.
The standard jeans category, which includes brands such as Zara, H&M and Uniqlo, benefited from consumers returning to more normal lifestyles and updating their wardrobes in 2021. This is because as a result of more time spent at home, many consumers were forced to reflect on their life priorities, with many concluding that they wanted to buy sensible investment pieces.
Since restrictions were gradually lifted in the UK over the course of 2021, many consumers replaced their sweatpants with jeans as they returned to work and socialising. However, after over a year spent in comfortable athleisure and loungewear, comfort continues to be a purchasing priority for consumers and is likely to continue to dictate future denim trends.
The pandemic, which revealed society’s inequalities, as well as the social upheaval caused by events such as the Black Lives Matter movement, led many younger consumers to become even more aware of all the problems that society faces today. Therefore, many of these consumers concluded that it is important to buy from brands that improve society by making it a more inclusive place and embracing diversity.
Easy access to the online channel for information, especially during the time of lockdowns caused by the pandemic, led many younger consumers to become increasingly concerned about how their choices, even in terms of their fashion purchases, affect society and the environment. This has meant that younger millennial, and especially gen Z consumers, are adopting more conscious, sustainable shopping practices as they increasingly look for brands that support sustainable goals.
Those consumers who did continue shopping for apparel during the lockdowns and social distancing restrictions of 2020 and 2021 in the UK were forced to shop online. For this reason, online sales of denim grew significantly.
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This report originates from Passport, our Jeans research and analysis database.
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