Apparel and footwear was among the industries hardest hit by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Retail sales were damaged by temporary store closures and weakened consumer spending. The pandemic also accelerated a channel shift to e-commerce in the industry. This report provides a top-line overview of market performance and prospects, including the impact of COVID-19, and outlines key trends within the global apparel and footwear business landscape.
The apparel and footwear industry has been among the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Global retail value sales declined by 19% in 2020, with a return to the pre-COVID-19 level of sales not expected until post-2025. The continued restrictions and growing fears of contagion in retail spaces and shopping malls among consumers are creating further challenges for retailers around the globe.
Asia Pacific continues to lead in terms of sales, at almost USD565 billion by the end of 2020. Holding a global value share of close to 40%, Asia Pacific overall accounts for well over a third of global spending on clothing and footwear. Mainland China alone accounts for a massive 60% of regional sales and ranks as the most important market globally.
E-commerce and digital innovation will undoubtedly expand as consumers continue to enjoy the convenience of online shopping, and as the shift to learning, working, eating, shopping, playing and socialising moves further to the home and online. Both physical and digital retailers will need to go above and beyond to create new bonds and build loyalty with customers, who will be looking to be entertained, rewarded and valued.
Sportwear and childrenswear are expected to see much faster recovery from the impact of COVID-19. This is thanks to quick recovery in Asia Pacific, and the ongoing demand from consumers, who are increasingly opting for loungewear, athleisure and casual clothing as work, exercise and socialising continue to take place in the home.
New ways of thinking and doing will be key to building resilience, and one thing that should not be paused despite the economic crisis is innovation. New business models and corporate strategies remain focused on mitigating ongoing risks in light of successive waves of COVID-19 infections and slower than anticipated vaccination roll-out programmes.
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