Western Europe sees sales decline for menswear over the review period due macroeconomic challenges, aggressive competitive environment and weakened demand. Athleisure and casual clothing trends favour the cheapest categories, such as jeans and tops. The main commonality among the countries is fast fashion’s prominence whose production model is challenged by the Coronavirus pandemic. Economic disparity creates different stages in the evolution of e-commerce over the coming years
Western Europe, differently from other leading regions, has some countries facing macroeconomic challenges even before the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. The weakened demand worsened by the sanitary crisis tends to make smaller players more vulnerable.
The transformation of the labour market into less hierarchical structures and the expansion of home office culture are trends reducing the strength of status symbols, such as formal suits and social outfits, the most expensive subcategories.
Fast fashion retailers remain leading but challenged by the slowed demand and by premium jeans and sportswear players bouncing back with competitive offers and stronger credentials of quality, durability and comfort, features commonly seen as neglected by fast fashion model.
The biggest retailers are gaining ground over the smaller ones as the market consolidates
Apparel is a fragmented sector in the region with the top 10 companies comprising only 25% of the market. If the overall industry does not grow, the main growth avenue will occur through market consolidation with mergers and acquisitions, likely to become more intense post-pandemic.
The urgency of remote interactions imposed by COVID-19 finds diversified levels of economic development and the different average levels of purchasing power among the countries lead to asymmetric stages of e-commerce adhesion.
Weak historic sales in addition to the dramatic pandemic impact result in the most severe decrease in recent history, with recovery expected at a slow pace and leveraged by the largest economies, notably Germany.
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