While the majority of UK consumers plan to prioritise spending time with friends and family when lockdown restrictions are lifted, 16.0% aim to spend time shopping for non-food items, with over two-thirds looking forward to purchasing clothing items, as they start to anticipate more social activities and buy into new season trends, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Pippa Stephens, associate retail analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Although this interest will be encouraging for fashion players whose stores have been closed for weeks, it will not be enough to boost the sector across the full year. Clothing and footwear is still expected to be the sector worst hit by the pandemic with UK spend is forecast to decline 31.6% in 2020.”
Source: GlobalData’s monthly survey of 2,000 nationally representative UK consumers conducted in May 2020. Consumers that cited that they planned to shop for non-essential items immediately after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, were subsequently asked ‘what are you looking forward to shopping for?’. All figures are in percentages.
One of the biggest difficulties that will be encountered across the clothing sector is the concern regarding fitting rooms, with the government stating that shoppers should not be allowed to try on items in-store due to hygiene issues. As fit and comfort are integral factors when buying new clothing items, this is likely to be off-putting, and may become a barrier to purchase. Therefore, retailers operating within this sector must identify innovative solutions, such as augmented reality mirrors, or virtual catwalks via their apps, to ease the shopping process and provide more inspiration for consumers.
Stephens continues: “The lack of access to fitting rooms will inevitably lead to higher return rates, however, as retailers are being instructed by the government to quarantine returned goods for 72 hours before putting back on the shop floor, they will be sat on large amounts of unsaleable stock at one time. As this will occupy valuable stock room space, and lead to more fragmented ranges, clothing players must work to minimise returns, by providing more in depth size guides across different product types. They should also feature a more inclusive range of models and mannequins within in-store displays, to allow shoppers to visualise the items on a selection of different body types.”