Retail market intelligence platform Edited presented this Wednesday a webinar dubbed “decoding retail’s biggest opportunities in a post-Covid world”, discussing the pandemic’s impact on the fashion and retail industries as well as the assortments and key categories to keep an eye on moving forward. Hosted by retail strategists Grace Mellor, and Rosalie Wetzel and retail analyst Krista Corrigan, we’ve learned more about the fashion categories to focus on, the shift in consumers’ behaviours and the top performing trends for the months to come. FashionUnited has narrowed down the five key takeaways from the conference.
New strategies appear for department stores
A report by The Fashion Law revealed that 27 bankruptcies have occurred since April 2020. However, department stores are slowly coming out of the pandemic’s effect: according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse, their sales increased by 202 percent in April compared to the same time last year and by 10 percent compared to 2019. Over the last year, many strategies have seen the light of day to help department stores find their way back to customers. They’re holding more pop-ups - think Pangaia and The Fold at Selfridges in the spring - and creating experiences for customers, so they’re drawn to physical retail and in-store shopping. Partnerships and livestream shopping - a good example being Nordstrom launching its own dedicated page on its website - are also two means to develop a new and diverse physical presence. Finally, technology and innovation are both ubiquitous in today’s strategies and ought to be adopted by more stalwarts of the industry. Whether it’s QR codes or interactive experiences, connected stores seem a sure-fire way to appeal to customers.
Loungewear is by far the most successful categorie of the past year
Loungewear has been particularly prominent since lockdown, meeting customers’ needs to be comfortable while still looking put-together when staying at home. We’ve seen the trend of Zoom dressing appear, focusing on the idea of looking polished and professional on top while still being cosy and comfortable - probably in leggings and sweatpants. According to Edited, retailers have reduced their blazer assortment inventory by 19% year-on-year, but increased their hoodies selection by 32 percent. Also, from April 2020 to 2021, the sweatpants offer increased by 67 percent YoY. A preference for flat shoes has also been noticed, confirming a need for easy clothes and accessories that provide comfort. The key styles? Sneakers, fluffy slippers and UGG boots.
Swimwear is coming back
The swimwear category is one that is coming back in full force, with a revival noticed this year. Edited revealed that arrivals in store have increased by 7 percent and sell outs have been up 34 percent. In the UK, we’ve seen a 26 percent boost in the category, with consumers looking for a way to escape and embrace the summer months, even if they’re not necessarily leaving the country or going to exotic destinations. When it comes to swimwear trends, solid hues have been particularly popular, but so have bolder pieces featuring cut-outs and feminine details - a trend that’s also been largely seen in womenswear collections.
Women’s streetwear is here to stay
Streetwear has been a mainstay of the womenswear wardrobe for years, but it’s still a category that attracts consumers more than ever. Edited explained that the number of new arrivals grew 53 percent since 2019 and 50 percent YoY, the key items being puffer coats, bucket hats and sneakers. Women’s streetwear is however taking a step forward going into 2022, with a rise of genderless fashion and a barrier slowly coming down between gendered categories.
Homeware lines on the rise
With so much of our time spent inside over the last year and a half, being comfortable in our home has become necessary to evolve in a positive and healthy environment. Homeware lines have been on the rise because of the pandemic, with assortments going up 104 percent at fast-fashion retailers. In the next three years, the US market alone is projected to grow by 20 percent. Edited revealed that there’s been a spotlight on affordable accessories - think H&M and Zara Home - and decorative pieces - think Anthropologie - mainly due to Generation Rent and its young adults unlikely to become homeowners in the near future.