For many retailers, the Covid-19 pandemic was a difficult time. For example, in 2020, clothes sales in the UK saw a decrease of 25% overall across retailers. But, even in an industry where online eCommerce market share is already high, the post-pandemic shift to online shopping has been notable.
When most people adapted their shopping habits due to closures and restrictions, these habits have seemed to have remained in consumers, even post-pandemic, and brands and retailers are becoming savvier to this change in consumer behavior. Let’s look at three ways that fashion eCommerce has changed since Covid-19.
Online Sales Expected to Overtake In-Store Sales in 2022
A report from Retail Economics found that the sales of clothes purchased online during the pandemic saw an increase of around £2.7 billion. But, in contrast, overall sales fell by around £9.6 billion. As a result of this shift during the past two years, it is predicted that online clothes shopping could see sales exceed in-store purchases in 2022, even when earlier predictions believed this would happen in 2025.
Should this happen, the UK will be the first nation in Europe where consumers buy most of their clothing from retailers online. Around ⅓ of UK, shoppers have said that they will stick with purchasing clothes online from habits changed by the pandemic. While many online-only eCommerce brands and businesses will benefit from this, it’s predicted that clothing stores will lose around £8 billion due to this change in shopping habits.
Shoppers Have Become More Price Sensitive
While online shopping has increased substantially since the pandemic, there has also been another change in consumer behavior. Consumers had become accustomed to the lower prices that brands applied to their lines and products to stimulate purchases in the early days of the pandemic when fashion sales were on the decline. As a result, around 54% of online shoppers have become more price-sensitive and are less willing to spend the amount they were doing on pre-pandemic clothing.
In an online world, it’s easier for shoppers to look around and actively seek out clothing at the price point they are willing to pay. But markdowns that brands have been applying over the last two years have prompted online eCommerce shoppers to browse and discover new brands and wider product ranges. Around 6/10 shoppers say that they would be more likely to try a new brand or clothing range if a discount has been applied. Price incentives also positively impact CLV amongst eCommerce fashion brands, with 54% of customers saying that they had gone on to purchase at least one item at full price after shopping and purchasing using a discount.
Although there is a continuing demand for discounts and sales as shoppers look to secure a bargain, there are some signs that this discounting technique is becoming less common amongst retailers in the eCommerce fashion industry. This is largely down to international supply chain issues and economic pressures due to the increase in costs of goods, which are being passed down to consumers.
Purchases Are Changing
On average, UK consumers are more likely to purchase clothing online than any other product – a continued post-pandemic habit. However, since March 2020, there have been very fluid shifts in the habits of eCommerce fashion shoppers, which reflect that of the pandemic.
During the early stages of the pandemic, our day-to-day habits were changed drastically, with a global shift to work from home, the inability to go out to bars and restaurants, and gyms being closed for months. As a result, purchase habits changed, and consumers were no longer interested in buying a new blouse or suit pants. Instead, the focus shifted to casual, comfort wear, where orders for tracksuits and other athleisure wear grew by around 84%. Online luxury good sales also increased by about 170% between August and September 2020 as consumers’ reluctance to spend money in the early months began to wane.
Then, following the pandemic, the fashion industry saw a shift again. Now that restriction were lifted, consumers looked for clothes, makeup, and beauty products to socialize again and were no longer confined to their homes. Again, this shift in consumer purchase behavior shows how adaptive consumers are.