Will Covid Change The Way We Shop?
Posted on 27th June 2020 at 14:13
We have survived weeks without going to our beloved high street clothing stores and some of us haven’t even bought an item of clothing online. And why would we? Our wardrobes are already full of exactly what we need.
Granted we didn’t have that special dinner to go to or a catch up with friends where you just simply wanted to wear something new, enhance our identity and feel the good factor of something new. But prior to lockdown have we been buying too much? Has lockdown changed the way we feel about shopping and our consumer needs?
It’s inevitable really that we will emerge from this crisis very different from when we went into it. Maybe you were already on the path of under consumer righteousness in buying only what you consume and need, but I’m quite positive what lockdown has most definitely highlighted the amount of “stuff” we simply don’t need.
As people return to stores, they will be seeking out safe spaces, discretionary spending will be limited and there will be a greater interest in buying from local brands, according to brand experience firm Big Red Rooster. Many will be looking to support their local independent boutiques and coffee shops in the hope they don’t go under.
But then we see scenes of queues of people outside Primark in search of a bargain and fast fashion. There’s the hope a lot will change how they buy and in a report by the RSA, lockdown is causing customers to turn against "fast fashion" - with 35% of women saying they intend to buy fewer items in the future.
Fast Fashion or Throw away fashion has built itself on the back of Influencers of Instagram wearing something one day and the Consumer pretty much wearing it the next day with the fast next day deliveries available by the likes of ASOS.
But has Coronavirus slowed us down? Will we be more conscious of what we buy. There’s the #whomademyclothes which raises awareness in the clothing industry for consumers to ask where were my clothes made and by who? Was that person treated fairly to make my clothes, paid the right wage and in the right conditions?
It is estimated 350,000 tons of used clothing goes to landfill every year in the UK so there is pressure for people to shop sustainably.
In the summer of 2019, we spent £2.7 billion on single-use clothes. Some 50 million outfits were purchased for festivals, day trips and holidays, only to be discarded after a day or two of wear. #throwawayfashion.
What is worrying is all the Spring Summer 2020 clothing that didn’t get shipped, didn’t get sold. What will happen to all the dead stock, excess pre-ordered fabric that has been dropped and then all the clothing still in stores?
Some companies are holding basics for next SS 21, so what does that mean for the fashion industry that relied so much on providing “newness” and trend led product? It’s a multi billion pound problem for the fashion industry.
Will we get sucked back into an industry that dictates to us what we should be buying and what we “need”? With huge sales and markdowns, will we fall back into thinking we need it all as we will be getting a bargain – but like I said to whose expense? The consumer in possible debt and highly likely unemployed? The poor factory worker? Or even our environment?
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