• Fashion United

In lockdown, shoppers turn to cozy apparel

Don-Alvin Adegeest| Friday, May 08 2020

The phrase ‘business on top, chill on the bottom’ has never been more prevalent than during global lockdown. So much so that Japanese retailer Uniqlo used it as its latest advertising moniker, promoting to “pair dressier tops with comfortable bottoms to keep yourself cozy and your colleagues none the wiser.”

According to Edited there are five themes that retailers and brands can focus on to optimise product sell outs amid slower than usual trade due to Covid-19. These include promoting essential items but also plenty of cozy, comfortable fashion separates. While office dress codes have seen a shift into more casual and comfortable styling, the sales of t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies are making up a greater percentage of sell outs compared to last year.

Quarantine and chill

Already an established trend born from athleisure and gaining momentum due to the rise of the ‘Netflix & Chill’ generation, loungewear has been at the fore of retailer’s promotions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. In turn, leggings and sweatpants sell outs currently make up a higher proportion of bottoms sell outs YoY.

Edited believes as consumers return to work company dress codes will relax as we enter a new era. In China, with major cities returning to work, sell out increases were noted across essentials such as blazers, polo shirts and trousers at the end of April. The postponements of weddings and events will see pent up demand for dressier apparel. Comfort dressing remains at the fore with sweatpants and leggings seeing some of the highest percentage increases YoY in Germany and Italy, suggesting the longevity of the trend post-lockdown. With key regions such as the US and UK remaining indoors as summer approaches, interest will turn to jogger shorts and demand will grow for lightweight loungewear in breathable fabrics.

Gyms and retailers worldwide are promoting at-home workouts, renewing interest in this already-successful category. Since the start of 2020, activewear sell outs have increased across all markets with the UK, China and Australia showing the highest overall percentage growth YoY.

Sneakers continue to perform during the pandemic as consumers turn to the outdoors for daily exercise. Sell outs of performance sneakers eclipsed fashion styles in China and the US, while women’s sneakers with ‘running’ in their description saw a 17 percent uptick in sell outs YoY in the US and UK combined.

Outdoor activities are still top of mind as customers have a newfound appreciation for getting out of the house. This will only amplify once lockdown is lifted, making the present a prime time to promote products for activities that can be enjoyed now and in the future such as hiking, camping and cycling.

The pandemic will pique consumer interest in products with antibacterial fabrics and finishes – an area of untapped opportunity for sport and outdoor gear.

With retailers promoting self-care and wellness during this time of uncertainty, consumers purchasing items to ‘treat themselves’ has emerged as a notable trend. According to lovethesales.com, for the three weeks up to 22nd of April, online searches for lingerie rose by 42 percent.

The success of loungewear has aided sleepwear sell outs to increase YoY across all regions as retailers emphasize comfort fabrics through the promotion of pajamas, robes and slippers in their communications. Additionally, email mentions of ‘cozy’ have surged by 150 percent YoY, further enticing consumers to stay indoors.

Local support

Retailers have already come together to show support for communities during coronavirus, whether through donations or giving exposure to small local businesses. According to Mintel, 57 percent of Chinese consumers said that they feel closer to community shops because of the outbreak, while 54 percent of German consumers say that it’s important for them to feel part of a community. This will continue post-pandemic as retailers are now aware of how offshore manufacturing can be impacted in a crisis. Moving forward, we can expect a heightened focus on promoting artisan fashion and craftsmanship.

Image via Edited; article source Edited

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