Clothing Spend Sees First Rise In 17 Months
Newly released data from Barclay Card has shown that the amount spent on clothes in the UK was up for the first time since March 2019, a period of 17 months.
Although the figures demonstrated modest growth at 0.3%, it was still welcome news for an industry that has been hit hard by COVID-19. Spending in other areas also saw some improvements on previous months, with department stores experiencing the smallest drop in sales since February 2020. Discount stores benefited greatly from price-conscious shoppers, as spending in this area grew by 25%.
Despite the majority of retailers being able to open, figures around online shopping demonstrated that the shift towards ecommerce will continue steadily. Online clothing spend alone rose by 24.3% during the month.
A recent study of consumer habits by Bazaarvoice showed that 31% of UK consumers cite price as the most influential factor when making purchases over the next three months. The ability to purchase items online was also an important factor, showing how essential omnichannel retail will be over the coming months.
The report showed that Gen Z consumers were very open to trying new brands during lockdown, with 62% of them testing out new product options, while older shoppers in the over 65’s category mostly stuck with the same brands. Just 12% of the British consumers interviewed plan to return to their pre-lockdown product selections, despite the fact that 44% only supported new brands during lockdown because their usual favourite wasn’t available.
As has been seen in many recent reports, COVID-19 has led to a massive shift in attitude towards online shopping among the public. 74% of British consumers have said they are now comfortable making online purchases, and only 41% feel comfortable shopping in stores.
Susan Wold, SVP marketing at Bazaar voice had this to say about the report.
“Retailers and brands must stay in tune with consumers’ priorities over the coming months and ensure they provide store and product information that instils confidence in shoppers. As consumers return in-store, the use of technology to connect online and offline and provide shoppers with product information before they visit will be important. An omni-channel approach not only enables a stronger connection with consumers but also creates a seamless experience.”
Cos Announce Launch Of Online Resale Platform
The H&M owned fashion brand Cos has announced the launch of ‘Resell’, a new clothing resale website.
This new site has been set up to allow customers to purchase or sell ‘pre-loved’ Cos items. Originally piloted in the UK and Germany, the platform is ready to go global this Autumn. Users can buy or sell items from any Cos collection throughout their archive, spanning the last 13 years.
“Resell reinforces Cos’ ambition and journey to becoming fully circular and renewable, developing innovative ways to continue the brand’s commitment to quality and longevity by re-imagining the lifecycle of each pre-loved piece,” says H&M.
This comes as the latest sustainability initiative from H&M that involves clothing re-sale. The company already runs digitally-focused re-sale platforms like Sellpy, or Afound, which has spread to various European countries.
Many companies have made efforts to become more sustainable in recent years, as buyers become more environmentally conscious. According to a study from Product Experience Management firm Akeneo, sustainability and social responsibility are now one of the central concerns for shoppers and play a vital role in driving eCommerce and Omnichannel Sales.
1,600 business leaders from a variety of disciplines were surveyed as part of the study, which showed that 61% believe that when it comes to product information, topics like sustainable materials and ethical practices are top of the list when making purchasing decisions. In fact, the study claims that social responsibility now ranks higher than criteria such as speed, personalization, and more.
Levi’s Introduce New Digital Experiences
Clothing brand Levi’s has become the latest brand to launch a range of digital experiences in partnership with a technology company.
The brand has created a number of new features targeting the back-to-school season in the era of COVID-19, attempting to replace traditional events with digital versions.
To help simulate the experience of trying on outfits at a shopping mall with friends or family, the fashion brand has created virtual styling events that can be attended by a group. Levi’s also provides a stylist in the online session, whose job is to advise on trends and styles, while also recommending certain products to suit the group. This is hosted alongside the screen sharing app Squad, and will be available during September.
Similarly, the brand has collaborated with Kohl’s to create a virtual closest experience hosted on Snapchat. Using AR and portal technology, they have created a way for shoppers to view and create different outfits from a selection of women’s wear.
The company has also partnered with tech company Zeekit to create virtually rendered models of various heights and sizes, allowing customers to see how particular items look on a model that has a similar body to their own. This feature aims to give online shoppers more security in knowing that an item bought from the Levi’s store will fit them well.
Many brands have launched new digital experiences since the start of lockdown back in March, like luxury fashion brand Gucci, who recently launched an augmented reality feature to allow shoppers to try-on items virtually, or Bollé who partnered with Instagram to create a filter that allowed users to try on a selection of their glasses virtually.