The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to e-commerce, exemplified by the US fashion industry, which is embracing the rapid digital evolution across every aspect of businesses. This report reviews the results of Euromonitor International's latest research and consumer surveys, and examines the state of digital transformation, the key demographics driving change, and the emerging technologies that could reshape the future of retailing in the industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated the shift from store-based retailing to e-commerce in the US apparel and footwear industry, and this evolution of retail landscape is likely to continue in the post-pandemic era. Nearly half of apparel and footwear sales in the US are expected to be through the e-commerce channel by 2025. In order to stay competitive, businesses must fully prepare for the digital era.
In addition to younger consumers, those over 45 are also becoming digitally active, and digital will become more important for discovery, engagement and purchase. Free shipping, easy exchanges and returns, as well as new digital features, like virtual try-ons and livestream shopping events, are further supporting the growth of e-commerce in apparel and footwear. As online shopping and search knowledge differs by age group, retailers will need to know what works best for their target audience and create more seamless shopping experiences across channels.
The acceleration of e-commerce has made digital engagement a higher priority for apparel and footwear players. Diversifying customer services through technology is crucial to meet changing customer expectations. While AR/VR are popular technologies, industry professionals are also showing interest in other technologies, like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and cloud, for future investment.
Digitalisation is quickly changing the nature of traditional processes and can help achieve results much faster and at a lower cost. Companies will accelerate their digital transformation plans, and explore new and emerging technologies to become more innovative in both products and customer experiences.
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