How Pandemic Took Over Fashion
With the novel coronavirus pandemic gripping the world and the government implementing a lockdown – including the closure of all malls and high streets except for essentials – while advocating social distancing, people have been confined to their homes, isolating themselves, working from home, and visiting marketplaces only for essentials. Retailers and fashion labels throughout the country have been forced to temporarily close their doors, creating an excellent chance for e-commerce enterprises to take over. And the transformation has been critical.
COVID-19 has slowed down sales for businesses across various industries. Especially fashion and apparel, that lies under the non-essential category. But as the government starts to relax the lockdowns and restrictions, it’s time to get back to business. Although this time, fashion and apparel businesses need to be aware of how their consumer’s behaviour has evolved during this period.
The crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic hit the fashion industry especially hard. Online shopping surged, but not enough to erase the damage done by store closings and economic worries, which caused people to curtail spending on nonessential goods. Industry revenue this year could drop by more than one-third, the equivalent of up to $640 billion in lost sales.
Consumers and Online Retail
eCommerce has been growing at a rapid pace over the last few years. The pandemic only accelerated the adoption across all industries. Consumers now choose online shopping for even their day-to-day necessities to avoid stepping into public spaces. Fashion and apparel brands now need to consider going online with their products. It will give them the ability to reach out to their existing customers and attract new ones by promoting a ‘safer’ way to shop that lets them experience in-store shopping, online.
The new-age consumer is more informed than ever. They are aware of the possible limitations on the availability of items and delivery delays. That’s why you’ll see this new consumer choose to buy certain products in bulk. So they can remain prepared for days to come by making the purchase once. But at the same time, they’re also looking for brands that can offer them discounts on bulk purchases so that they can do the same on other items they need.
Fashion and apparel brands will need to understand their customers better and which of their products in the inventory can be sold in bulk. Creating bundles of fashion wear is a good idea to make more sales right now, but so is keeping in mind what kind of fashion wear the consumer is more likely to put to use as of today.
Fashion and apparel retailers need to take this consumer behaviour into account to be able to reach them where they are the most active. It’s a good idea to move past just mobile-web ready online stores to setting up native apps for your store. The easier it is for a consumer to browse through your products, create wish lists and make purchases, the higher will be your conversions.
Consumer Behaviour and Preferences
The pandemic is reshaping the fashion industry. Consumer behaviours and sentiments in the US exemplify what’s happening. Shelter-in-place orders affected 300 million people and led to a sharp decline in use of public transportation and an increase in nesting. According to a BCG report and other research, 81% of US consumers believe that the pandemic will lead to a recession, and more than half worry about their personal finances and plan to spend less on fashion as a result. An increased focus on value is already evident—more than four in ten US consumers say that they expect brands to offer discounts or other promotions once stores reopen.
Around the world, more people are shopping online and ordering merchandise online to pick up in person—trends that are expected to continue. COVID-19 lockdowns also have led to an uptick in first-time e-commerce shoppers—14% of consumers in the US and 17% in China bought fashion online for the first time because of the pandemic. In that respect, it’s similar to what happened during the SARS epidemic, when e-commerce spending increased and remained at the new level after the outbreak subsided. The COVID-19 crisis has made people more conscious of sustainability and the environment, and it has piqued interest in spending on health and wellness and essentials such as casual apparel, skin care, and home products.
This is not the first time the globe has faced a problem of this magnitude. However, no one anticipated such serious ramifications or something of this magnitude and severity. Even if things settle down, the fashion sector will have to work hard to get back in the game. The worst-affected countries by the new coronavirus are the world's main industrial units, which might have a significant impact on the whole value chain, from textile producers to merchants. Every crisis has a profound effect on consumer behaviour, beliefs, and attitudes. Lockdown, on the other hand, may be the greatest opportunity for businesses to re-define their business models, re-examine their brand values, and act appropriately.
In times of crisis, one should have an optimistic attitude and not give up hope if things do not go as planned. Never forget to be thankful, and always put your best foot forward. Make the most of your free time because it may not be available again. And keep in mind that every single setback is a chance to seize. Living with coronavirus is likely to become the "New Normal."