Womenswear, the largest category in apparel and footwear, formed a major role in the downturn in the market over the pandemic with only fragile signs of recovery seen in 2021. Heavy discounting was practised even in the spring when normally this activity is limited to the summer sales of July-August.
Even though most chains in apparel and footwear ended 2021 with positive value growth over the previous year, the many months of lockdowns and restrictions between March 2020 to May 2021 caused irreversible damage that will hamper or even compromise the ability of some to recover.
Players that achieved the best successes over 2020-2021 were often small and medium sized companies, notably in women’s nightwear and women’s underwear. These two categories were spared somewhat thanks to replenishment purchases in supermarkets and hypermarkets, which remained open during lockdown, while leggings and the most comfortable sports-inspired apparel also suffered less steep declines during the enforced “staycation” periods of 2020 and 2021.
Providing there are no further lockdowns in early 2022, overall sales of womenswear will bounce back over the forecast period, although industry players do not believe in the scenario of the Roaring Twenties, (1919-1925) when there was a massive rush in stores after World War One, coined “the lipstick effect”. This effect was last seen in 2010 after the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
Experts deem that many of the newly acquired habits of 2020 and 2021 will persist in the short term, with strong consequences on sales and distribution. First, the global success of remote working during the pandemic will continue with an expected one or two days a week working in offices from now on.
Even if there were to be a slight temporary slowdown in the first year of the forecast period, even with no further lockdowns, the trends towards sustainability and second-hand womenswear will intensify over the forecast period. According to local sources, second-hand womenswear took off in 2021 growing by 140% in terms of transactions in 2019, by one-third online, while the number of clients rose 78%.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Womenswear industry in France with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This is the aggregation of women's outerwear and women's underwear, nightwear and swimwear.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Womenswear research and analysis database.
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