The uncertainty of when the global COVID-19 crisis will end is still bleak. What is clear, is that will change many things. In a fashion report by Marc Bain published in Quartz, he writes that the pandemic has already opened the gates of international economic recession and experts’ fashion and retail predictions after COVID-19 will inevitably change behavioral patterns of consumers; affecting the way they live, purchase goods, and their clothing.
He writes that fashion is one of the industries most likely to be disrupted by the outbreak because it relies heavily on discretionary income. Experts may not be united on the exact effect of the pandemic on various aspects of the industry. But they are certain that it will, with numerous “large-scale shifts that were already underway accelerating in the upheaval.”, wrote Bain.
Bain lists down below the huge changes experts foresee for fashion in a post-coronavirus world.
Consumers will rethink “value”
The pandemic, and the quarantines and lockdowns various countries employed to flatten the curve until a vaccine is found, have forced shoppers to reprioritize their spending. Many will be inclined to prioritize the essentials In China, being the first country to go into lockdown, life is starting to go back to normal. However, many consumers are still not spending the same way they did before the crisis. They continue to focus on necessities.
Fashion’s obsession with trends will slow down as companies focus on a different type of product. Retailers will put emphasis on core products that have a never-out-of-stock, trans-seasonality will be the emphasis because of profitability. Clothes that remain in style across seasons will be more appealing. Digitally native, direct to consumer companies that sell one or a handful of products have become successful with this approach.
Maximalism will end and brands will on minimalism.
E-commerce and direct-to-consumer sales growth
Bain’s report also says that “the share of fashion sales happening online was growing before the coronavirus. The current situation, with its widespread store closures, should only spur e-commerce as consumers get used to buying even more online.”
There are questions about how eager shoppers will be to return to crowded shopping places after the lockdown unless vaccines for the new coronavirus have been proven successful by health officials.
Bigger gap between retail’s winners and losers
The pandemic will cause suffering to everyone but to varying degrees. There is going to be wider division between the strong and weak retailers. “Many unprofitable companies and others fighting for modest incomes, such as independent designers, are facing a nightmare scenario.” the report said.
Some business models will fare better than others
The big luxury players, sports companies, off-price chains, digitally native and direct-to-consumer (DTC) will have a better chance at survival post-COVID-19.
Reconfiguration of supply chains
Over the next two years, companies might re-evaluate their supply chains and try not to completely rely on any one country. Supplies might be sourced from nearshoring production to low-cost countries near major markets or companies can invest in more advanced manufacturing and automation.
The need for comfortable new clothes
With more people working from home, people will reject clothes that feel vaguely uncomfortable especially when you’re sitting at home all day. Comfort will be a priority as denim or bras are not necessarily the best thing when you’re at the comfort of your own home.
Not all these predictions may come true, as there is still so much uncertainty around how the coronavirus crisis will play out. We can only wait and see.