Fashion in 2021: Embracing positive change following a challenging 2020
This year will be less about survival and more about making the necessary changes to thrive....
Last year was the worst on record for fashion, but that could be the push that industry needs to embrace change. The future of fashion is online, contactless and sustainable, and now is the perfect time to prepare.
With brick and mortar stores closed and travel restricted for large parts of the year, brands had to react quickly to sudden changes to regulation, shopping habits, and consumer demands in 2020.
According to McKinsey’s The State of Fashion 2021 report, online sales jumped by 15% in 2020, with offline sales falling by the same margin. For those with an established online presence, this has helped to offset some of the damage caused by Covid-19. Luxury fashion group Kering, for instance, saw its share of online revenues double while stores were shuttered.
Others, however, have been less fortunate. As stores reopened, those in the made-to-measure space continued to struggle. Even as restrictions were eased during the summer, revenues on London’s famed Savile Row were estimated to be down 85% due to lingering fears and disappointing footfall.
As brands fought to survive, there was also the challenge of keeping up with rapidly changing consumer demands. According to OnBuy, 75% consumers claimed they are more uncomfortable visiting fashion stores than any other type of retailer, ensuring safety was and remains paramount.
Other industry trends have been accelerated too. The pandemic has stressed the need to improve our health and, subsequently, our environment. Consumers care about the environmental crisis now more than ever – more than half of young consumers plan to buy higher-quality garments that last longer to reduce their impact, which could spell trouble for fast fashion.
Learn from 2020 to survive 2021
There’s no denying that 2020 was bleak, but the pandemic doesn’t have to be a disaster for fashion. It could be the push that fashion needs to prepare itself for the future.
McKinsey estimates that fashion industry profits should return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023 — but first, businesses must learn and adapt.
Digital transformation is now
Digitalization has been a buzzword for decades, but in 2021 it’s truly a matter of now or never. Online sales rocketed last year and are expected to remain high in key geographies such as the US, Europe, and China.
Consumer behavior is likely to have been permanently altered too. Whether due to health concerns or that we’ve simply grown used to staying at home, robust online shopping experiences will be important to survival and growth in fashion in 2021.
As more of the Gen Z demographic reaches consumer age, online sales will continue to grow. According to Accenture, 40% of Gen Z make more than 50% of their apparel purchases online.
YourFit: With just 2 photos your customers get a quick size recommendation personalized to their body data
However, soon enough, simple e-commerce stores won’t be enough for consumers that demand tech-driven experiences. Innovations, such as 3DLOOK’s YourFit and Mobile Tailor online human body measuring solutions, can provide customers with accurate size and fit recommendations using a smartphone device. These solutions help to provide customers with a contactless online experience that lives up to physical retail from the comfort of their home while reducing online fashion’s high (and costly) rate of returns.
Many brands took the opportunity to experiment during the pandemic. We saw industry leaders like Marc Jacobs, Dior and Mugler make use of virtual worlds and augmented reality to increase engagement. With 71% of fashion executives expecting online business to grow by more than 20% in 2021, it is those that truly embrace digital that will emerge as winners.
Creativity isn’t all that matters
Behind digital, industry executives expect sustainability to present the biggest opportunity in 2021 according to McKinsey. Despite talk of luxury and tailor-made fashion’s demise, these categories are likely to bounce back in 2021. In fact, 31% of industry executives predict that luxury fashion will experience better conditions in 2021 as consumer desires shift from buying experiences to buying things.
Pangaia’s puffer coat, whose filling is made with flowers in a bid to offer a cruelty-free alternative to duck or goose down. Source: Pangaia
However, consumers will expect brands to reduce their environmental impact. Brands are already considering ways to do so by streamlining product ranges and supply chains. However, businesses must effectively utilize data to ensure changes benefit the company, its supply chain, and it’s customers. Solutions such as 3DLOOK’s YourFit can help brands to collect the data required to design, manufacture, and sell products effectively, minimizing return waste and surplus stock.
Creativity in fashion is only part of the package. Data can ensure that the garments you produce are desired by consumers before they hit the racks. Not only for the environmental benefits but to minimize losses during this period of recovery.
It’s time for change
The past year has been tough, but Covid-19 has served as the accelerant for fashion and retail trends that were imminent. These fashion and retail trends were already coming. The pandemic has simply reduced the time that businesses have to act.
This year will be less about survival and more about making the necessary changes to thrive. Get in touch to learn how 3DLOOK’s YourFit and Mobile Tailor solutions can help you to prepare for the changes ahead.