With the Swedish national vaccination programme proceeding rapidly, in mid-2021 the government announced the gradual abolition of COVID-19-related social distancing recommendations and restrictions. Although restrictions and recommendations had been very soft in relation to retail stores, their abolition was regarded as a symbolic recognition by the government that the most dangerous phase of the ongoing pandemic was now over.
Despite the Swedish government’s decision to remove restrictions and social distancing recommendations during the second half of 2021, the pandemic, combined with strong interest in domestic tourism and outdoor sport, drove consumers away from gyms and indoor sports locations during most of the year – continuing the trend seen in 2020. This continued to generate interest in the outdoor and performance apparel which is required for outdoor sports and leisure.
Low-cost Swedish retail players H&M Hennes & Mauritz Sverige, Lindex Sverige (owned by Finnish company Stockmann Oyj, but was originally Swedish), KappAhl Sverige and Gina Tricot Försäljnings continued to lead womenswear in Sweden in 2021. All of these companies returned to value growth in 2021, after seeing declines in 2020.
Womenswear was entering a stage of consolidation and stasis even before the pandemic hit, with several players, such as Thernlunds, MQ, JC and many others, having gone in and out of bankruptcy and reconstruction in the period leading up to 2020. Although 2021 saw strong recovery, turnover levels were unable to come close to those of 2019, and are not expected to do so in the short to medium term.
Changes to consumer preferences and consumption patterns have been long in the making, and COVID-19 only served to reinforce trends that are expected to last over the forecast period. Demand amongst consumers is increasingly expected to polarise, shifting away from bland, mid-quality brands.
With players experiencing increasing competitive pressure over the forecast period, physical points of sale are expected to pursue one of two main strategies for survival. Continuing a trend that developed gradually over several years, retailers will more explicitly split into those players pursuing a generalist approach and those pursuing apparel specialisation.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Womenswear industry in Sweden 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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