While clothing has been the retail sector worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis, as consumers deprioritise non-essential items due to economic uncertainty and a lack of social events, 19.3% of global consumers aged 16-44 cited that they have bought more clothing since the start of the outbreak, compared with only 7.4% of over 45s., says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Pippa Stephens, Associate Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Though 16-44s already had a higher tendency to purchase clothing online before the outbreak, almost a fifth have spent more time during lockdown browsing retailers’ websites to keep themselves occupied as they stay at home during lockdown. Online clothing purchases have also served as a treat, and helped to uplift younger consumers’ moods throughout the pandemic, especially for those that have continued working and have had more disposable income, due to cancelled holidays and social activities”

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Source: GlobalData’s weekly COVID-19 tracker across 11 countries, with a sample of 500 respondents per country, conducted between 26-31 May 2020.


As the end of lockdown and social distancing begins to near, retailers are likely to experience the greatest uplift in trade from younger demographics, as they seek new clothing to wear for future events. Therefore, they should start to adapt their social media strategies accordingly, by gradually incorporating fewer stay-at-home outfits into their posts, to provide more inspiration for upcoming gatherings. Retailers must also ensure that their marketing campaigns are fully inclusive, as those that display diversity and promote the Black Lives Matter movement resonate more strongly with young consumers.

Stephens continues: “While consumers’ have been showing less interest in trend-led pieces amid the pandemic, 16-44s are likely to quickly regain their desire for fashion-focussed products. Though fast fashion players will benefit from gradually increasing the regularity of new ranges as restrictions are lifted, retailers must adapt their levels of newness for each of their markets, as shoppers in countries like Italy and South Africa have shown a much lower demand for clothing amid COVID-19, than those in markets such as China and UAE.”

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