Easing of restrictions fails to dent online fashion demand says True Fit report
Freedom Day and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions actually boosted online fashion order volumes rather than cutting them, data from personalisation platform True Fit shows.
UK shoppers’ need to dress to dress up as social living returned, allied by a move back to office working for some, saw fashion checkouts rising 12% year-on-year in July.
Meanwhile, web traffic to fashion retail sites spiked by 35% across June and July compared to 2020, according to True Fit’s 'Fashion Genome' report.
Fashion checkouts were also up 51% in July, compared to pre-pandemic levels, “demonstrating the accelerated and sustained demand for online fashion, as UK shoppers’ switch to digital has remained buoyant even as bricks-and-mortar stores have reopened”, the report noted.
Order volumes of women’s dresses also jumped 8% from June to July, ahead of Freedom Day. It said women’s dresses had also seen a steady rise since the start of the year as restrictions eased, rising 150% from February to March when outdoor mixing was once again allowed. The segment continued to rise, peaking in May (up 198% points since the start of the year) when hospitality fully reopened.
While a return to the office is boosting more occasionwear buying, the report said the move to hybrid working for many is also impacting fashion category spend. With 43 out of 50 of the UK’s biggest employers not planning to bring staff back to the office full-time, the shift between workwear and ‘work-from-home’ wear also remains fluid.
In late 2020, women’s tops outpaced orders of trousers and skirts by 120%, while sales of men’s tops outperformed trousers by 90% over the same period, as Britons ‘Zoomified’ their wardrobes from the top up as they worked from home or took meetings virtually via video calls.
However, by June, the gap closed to just 5% in womenswear and 17% in menswear, “signalling that top-to-toe outfitting is now returning”.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence was also up with average order values (AOVs) outpacing 2020 levels since March and peaking in the last week of July, rising to +17% year-on-year, as consumers began spending again as the nation unlocked.
Sarah Curran Usher, GM EMEA at True Fit, said: “We have witnessed the rise and rise of digital as fashion shoppers have switched and stayed online, even as stores have reopened. But this great digital opportunity has brought a huge amount of change with it, which retailers must be ready to capitalise on if they are going to drive long-term growth and customer loyalty.”
She added: “Consumers aren’t just reinventing how they engage with brands online, their whole buying behaviours and wardrobe ethos have pivoted as the pandemic has played out.
“They’ve swapped allegiances; tried new brands and given up on others; some have changed shape; others have adjusted their style preferences as they’ve adapted to lockdowns and unlocking and new working routines – even a brand’s most loyal of customers will behave and buy in a completely unrecognisable way to how they did before the pandemic. In short, the customer is the disruptor in retail now.”
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