Apparel and footwear was among the industries worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine further disrupts the world’s economy, fashion players are now in a race to adapt to an increasingly uncertain environment. Those investing in their digital transformation to offer new products, experiences and to rethink their supply chains will be best positioned to win, while upping one’s game on diversity and sustainability is also becoming imperative.
Apparel and footwear was among the industries worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and while recovery has gathered steam, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has further disrupted the world’s economy, forcing market players to reassess their priorities and operating procedures.
With new working arrangements here to stay, allowing consumers more flexible lifestyles, dress codes have become more casual, while interest in health and wellness remains high. These trends benefit sportswear players and performance and sports-inspired products across global markets.
The pandemic has reinforced the move by brands to focus more on the direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel via their own online and physical stores, while retailers innovate and strive to enhance the customer shopping experience by increasingly blending online and offline realities.
Already heavily disrupted by the global pandemic, supply chains are being further challenged by high inflation rates and political instability in Europe. This will reshape the industry’s production landscape, and increase investment in automation and logistics systems.
Following the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, social justice and climate change have come to the fore for a growing number of consumers. In this context, fashion players will need to reprioritise environmental, social and governance (ESG), and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as part of their core values and offering.
Global sales of apparel and footwear via e-commerce and s-commerce are set to increase further, as companies invest in their digital transformation to achieve greater efficiency, improve the customer experience and develop product innovations, eg Nike’s RTFKT training shoes.
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