COVID-19 shook the entire planet this year. Businesses in all industries have been deeply affected, but the apparel industry is one that has been hit the hardest. Since the pandemic, physical retailers have shut down, and billions of dollars worth of clothing orders have been canceled.
According to the “Impact of COVID-19 Scenario on European and the US Apparel Market” released by Wazir Advisors, apparel consumption in Europe and the US is likely to be 40-45% lower than the 2020 projected consumptions.
As businesses begin to slowly reopen, one thing is clear: the apparel industry will show lasting changes due to COVID-19.
- Will retailers survive?
- What does the future of the apparel industry look like?
- Will retailers convert more marketing efforts online vs traditional?
In this post, we explore what will happen to apparel stores following COVID-19.
Converting to eCommerce
Brick-and-mortar stores suffered as a result of the COVID pandemic. Those who relied on digital selling have faired better. While apparel spending is down by 50%, an online strategy is paramount for any apparel stores looking to rebound after the pandemic. Our client Cut The Shirt decided to shift to all online sales during the pandemic and sales are doing very well regardless of the industry being down. Pivoting your eCommerce digital marketing will be more important than ever,
Even after stores reopen, consumers will be hesitant to enter physical stores and touch clothing in-person. While a digital strategy and eCommerce SEO is not a guarantee for success, brands that sell online will lose less revenue. Prior to the pandemic, the transformation to online retail was already underway. While many apparel retailers were already in the process of creating a digital experience, the pandemic serves as a catalyst to quickly digitize sales to online channels.
Fewer Small Businesses Surviving Post Pandemic
Small apparel retailers face the biggest risk of closing following the pandemic. Small businesses do not have the same resources and reserves as many larger corporations and are failing to survive the effects of COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, over 100,000 small businesses have closed for good, and many more face corporate mergings post-pandemic.
Small businesses are essential for the economy and provide competition against large corporations, but small apparel companies are facing difficulties similar to those from the 2008 financial crisis. During the pandemic, shoppers were sticking to essentials and turning more to online retail than in-person stores. Smaller boutiques and retailers struggled to get local support and may not survive post-pandemic
There is no doubt that COVID-19 will leave a lasting mark on the apparel industry. Few small businesses will survive the economic downturn from the pandemic and many apparel businesses will shift harder to online sales for direct-to-consumer relationships. The future of apparel stores is not clear, but we can expect a few major changes.