Women say yes to clothing. The fabric has become a symbol of the post-lockdown consumer as economies in places like the US and UK are slowly reopening. And dressier clothing can be a ‘great rotation’ at the expense of consumers. Late last year, we argued that the vaccine-based economic recovery would change what people buy — they would wear less casual clothing and buy fewer cushions, but put more money towards champagne, suits and experiences. In categories such as fashion and cosmetics, this change is really happening; However, other areas like dining, travel and big events have not really gone yet.
Until traveling back to offices and sunny climates, retailers and manufacturers must maintain this tremendous recovery and deal with demand levels that are more or less than they expected.
A sign of a return to urban outfitters dressing. In its anthropology brand in the last week of February, it announced that seven of the top 10 best-selling online items are clothing. In the previous year, one or two dresses ranked in the top 10. When British Retail reopened in June and December 2020, shoppers bought a number of items they were ordering at the lockdown — most casual clothing and lingerie. During this time, sales of women’s clothing and especially floating, mid-length clothing increased. Such as handbags and mascara (top-mask makeup). There is very little interest in comfortable clothes made for longing at home.
“Fashion is back,” said Associated British Foods PLC, owner of budget chain Primark. Clothing is undergoing its own transformation: skinny jeans, the workforce of women’s wardrobes, has been coming out for over a decade; Mother jeans and other. Loose-cut pants are taking over. It should boost denim sales and inspire sales of new tops and shoes with them.
Coming back to office life fuels more fashion expense. Winsor London, which specializes in stylish workwear for women, is in increasing demand for more fitted clothing as the cities reopen. The menswear was not taken much, but sales were restored as employers called workers back to headquarters.
While the rotation in clothing seems to be going well, the image is more complex in other consumer areas. In food, for example, restaurants are very busy, but people are still cooking and ordering a lot at home.
Nestl SA SA said demand for products used in restaurants, especially in China, is recovering; At the same time, its Nespresso coffee unit is still benefiting from remote workers being their own baristas. Rekki, a technology platform that connects independent restaurants with food suppliers, saw an increase in orders with the return of the hospitality sector.
Starbucks Corp has begun to recover sales in US shops in densely populated urban areas – a type that relies on office workers and tourists. Growth in its home market in the latest quarter was still driven by suburban locations and drive-through windows, which have not yet eased epidemic routines.
The category of home improvement has not changed much yet, but spending on reconstruction and other projects is likely to slow over time. Now that you have built a new shed and stretched out that straw, you can never repeat this process. Some of the makeover projects ed ed in lockdown are still going on or waiting for an available contractor, but the holidays and sports tickets will start low with the wallet share reclaimed.
Holidays that are full of complexity are neither fun nor comfortable. Currently, there is a lot of uncertainty over international travel and fewer tourists are booking vacations abroad in sunny destinations like Greece and Spain. It is not surprising that the demand for swimwear is lagging behind fashion. If travel to and from Europe resumes this summer, it could unleash a torrent of spending. Unilever says the performance of its European ice cream business will depend on whether people can visit beaches and tourist towns.
Being in the midst of these changes means that retailers and consumer goods groups must continue to plan for uncertainty and keep it simple. Strategies should take into account very different experiences in areas. For example, in the US and Europe, clothing and food retailers must be prepared to increase their supply. In virus-affected markets like India, priority is given to meeting the needs of people who need to be alone, at home and recover from the virus.
As the great pandemic changes inch by inch in consumer habits, the old adage of ‘retail details’ has never been more appropriate.
Andrea Felsted & Sarah Holzack Bloomberg opinion columnists covering the consumer and retail industries.