Possibly for the first time in history, courtesy of government mandated lockdowns and social distancing, consumer behaviour patterns are similar across the world. Throw a dart anywhere on the map and you’ll find people whipping up the Dalgona coffee, baking bread in lieu of therapy and searching for comfortable yoga pants. Dealing with Covid-19 is a collective experience at varying levels for a considerable portion of the world, which has led to unique trends. Find out the new fashion categories people are searching for besides the essentials to stay sane in the lockdown:
New fashion categories | Premium loungewear brands in demand
Loungewear and sleepwear had gained acceptance as outerwear much before the pandemic took over. But the need for comfortable and presentable clothes that can easily transition from work from home, to work-out to grocery-run to Tik Tok appearances is at its peak right now. In the UK, loungewear witnessed a 433% jump in consumer demand in April 2020! Search for brands like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and other premium brands has increased by 18% because of the sleep and loungewear pieces in their product catalogue.
In Australia as well, the demand for lounge-y tracksuits, elasticated pants and loose-fitting jumpers has increased exponentially. The demand for the loungewear category has increased by 120%. And, brands like ASOS, Pretty Little Thing, Showpo and other niche labels are performing exceedingly well.
Brands looking to leverage this trend need to understand that customers need clothing pieces that are comfortable and functional with an element of ‘newness’. The launch of traditional seasonal fashion collections is on the back-burner for an indefinite period of time. But buyers will appreciate new ‘spring-inspired’ season drops in the loungewear category as long as it is comfortable, sustainable, minimalist and versatile.
New fashion categories | Activewear is frequently posting the sold-out board
When it comes to lockdown clothing, activewear is not too far behind. The sell-through rate of tracksuits has increased by 36%. The items under this category are flying off the shelves with a 40% spike in sold-out items in the US and 97% in the UK.
Hoodies and t-shirts are the hottest selling tops in the activewear category, whereas sweatpants and leggings rule in the bottom activewear category. Plain styles are winning over prints. And, tie-dye, colour-blocking, and florals are the most preferred patterns. When it comes to performance of fabrics, moisture-wicking and quick-dry ones are winning hands down!
New fashion categories | Pop-culture Trends
The overwhelming urge to stay connected and entertained is giving birth to brand new fashion trends. The quarantine pillow challenge is a good example. People taking part in this social media challenge transform large pillows into a mini dress by tying up a belt. This challenge has inadvertently increased the demand for designer logo belts. Internet searches for Gucci belts have increased by 71%, Saint Laurent by 68%, Off-White by 65% and Moschino belts by 59%!
Similarly, the demand for tiger prints increased soon after Netflix blessed the pandemic-hit world by releasing true crime documentary miniseries Tiger King. The page views of Anine Bing’s tiger sweatshirt increased by a whopping 418% immediately after this release,, as per the Lyst 2020 Q1 index. Kenzo’s tiger logo jumper also witnessed a 126% increase in demand. Internet searches for the print climbed up by 90%, Love the Sales reported.
New fashion categories | Drops are still very hot
Speaking of the need for entertainment, the one retail and fashion trend that has kept shoppers entertained in the last few years is the ‘sneakers drop culture’. And the trend is alive and kicking even now. In fact, sneakers are still the top sellers with sell-outs increasing by 23% YoY.
Just like eccentric Netflix series and social media challenges, drops have all the elements of pure entertainment. This is primarily why drops are still grabbing attention in the lockdown. In the absence of live physical events, community shopping experience and other forms of entertainment, drops are able to build meaningful engagement.
Nike is still dropping sports-star backed Jordans as scheduled. And, they are still selling out instantly, like Air Jordan 1 Court Purple, the latest edition of Yeezy 700, and New Balance-Kith’s dusty pink sneakers did in a few minutes!
This goes to prove that fashion businesses that trim down excess inventory (through data-driven demand prediction), to focus on limited releases to infuse the element of urgency in product releases can stay afloat even in the uncertain times like these. Brands and retailers that efficiently combine the strength of high-performing activewear and the premium comfort of loungewear will emerge as the biggest winners.