Dec 8, 2021
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Bad news for partywear as survey shows Britons worried about crowds

Dec 8, 2021

New retail sales data may show that fashion was a leading category in November, but there are signs that mounting Covid fears are undermining the UK’s interest in getting dressed up, going out and having fun this party season.

Photo: Pixabay/Public domain

And that's bad news for retailers who’ve assumed Christmas 2021 would make a big splash following 2020’s non-event and have invested heavily in party-focused stock. It's also tough to hear for the beauty sector after make-up struggled last year.

A new Mintel study shows that as many as 61% of Britons “plan to limit their time in crowded areas before seeing family for Christmas”.

Some 58% feel it’s important that people wear masks in bars and restaurants and 24% of consumers “are uncomfortable/extremely uncomfortable about going to a bar/restaurant indoors”.

It all means demand for the going-out clothing, shoes, accessories, fragrance and colour cosmetics that have struggled since the onset of the pandemic could remain muted.

Mintel also said that 41% of British workers feel the risk of catching coronavirus is making them feel uncomfortable about going to a work Christmas party.

Overall, 43% of consumers now say they’re worried/extremely worried about catching the virus. That’s particularly worrying as it’s similar to the 44% who said the same in early November 2020 when Britain was in full lockdown.

Those consumers are also scaling back overall Christmas plans with 44% saying they’re planning on having a smaller Christmas (with fewer people) this year compared to before the pandemic. 

With the new Omicron variant having emerged in just the past week, it’s also likely that those attitudes have hardened in the days since Mintel conducted its survey.

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