Alessandro Bru, Politecnico Di Milano School of Management believes, COVID-19 has had a big impact on the global retail industry. The pandemic has not only sparked conversations on shoppers’ consumption patterns but also made them realize their responsibility towards ensuring a sustainable future.
Growing preference for durable, sustainable clothes
The pandemic has compelled consumers to review their buying habits and choose products carefully. It has made Generation Z consumers aware of ethical issues surrounding fashion, including sustainability. And they are threatening the existence of fast fashion by seeking apparels that are more durable, sustainable, and ethically produced. The fast fashion industry is also suffering due to lack of consumers from low to middle income families. Hit by loss of jobs and incomes, these consumers are shifting their focus from clothes and accessories to daily essentials.
No effect on consumption of wealthy consumers
On the contrary, consumption patterns of wealthy consumers remained largely unaffected. Hence, luxury retailers are not likely to suffer the same way as fast fashion retailers. The luxury industry might survive the pandemic as it offers a variety of products including apparel, footwear and accessories. Besides supercars and yachts, it also offers watches and jewelry that are often passed down from generation to generation.
People have been consuming luxury products including champagne, chocolates, home décor and home wear items throughout the lockdown. Inspired by social media platforms, they have been dressing up in luxury loungewear despite having nowhere to go.
Process over product
Earlier too, the fast fashion industry showed slowdown signs multiple times. However, this year, the pandemic has accelerated the demise of fast fashion by hitting lower-income group hardest. Low-income consumers are prioritizing spending on essentials, eroding the market for fast fashion retailers.
Consumers are also focusing on the entire process of garment manufacturing rather than just the end product. This is helping them make informed decisions about apparel purchases. As millennials focus shifts to ethical shopping, fast fashion continues to suffer.