Can the apparel sector emerge stronger after Covid-19?

26 June 2020 / Digital transformation

Apparel companies need to take a pureplay mindset to building the digital side of their businesses thus maximising a key growth channel, says OC&C in its recent report – “Emerging Stronger After the Covid 19 Crisis”

The report, published in May of 2020, states that brands should expect the apparel market to shrink 30-40%, with declines in both offline and online. This will peak with a deep recession from 2021, with sales below their 2019 levels until 2023 – a recessionary hit that will be worse than any previous recession.

The report also says to expect that there will be some sustained impacts on consumer behaviour as well as the acceleration of some existing trends. Chief amongst these:

  • The acceleration in the shift to digital channels
  • The shift towards ‘buy to keep’ driven by thrift and a desire for sustainability
  • An increase in casual dressing owing to home-working and less business travel
  • A shift in emphasis on environmental sustainability to broader community sustainability
  • The increased importance of influencers
  • An accelerated consciousness of health and fitness

Broadly, OC&C recommends that apparel brands: become leaner and more agile with their manufacturing and supply chains, build and develop digital capabilities, look towards higher growth channels and  “Think boldly about how you can profit from consolidation and partnerships.”

Another key assertion is that uncertainty of demand and the push to digital will move the market to be more reactive – and brands need to adjust their supply chain accordingly.

This all may be the continuation of plans already in place for some brands, but others will need to embrace significant structural and organisational change to accommodate these shifts.

Here at Freedom People we specialise in finding the right people to enable businesses to embrace change – whether they be permanent roles, or on a project basis.

Do get in touch and speak to us about how to future-proof your business.