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The Rise of ‘Revenge Shopping’

March 11, 2021
Author: Jasmine Waters

If nothing else, 2020 generated a lot of buzzwords. Essential. Draconian. Tiers. The same can also be said for industries within the retail world. After a rough sailing 2020 for many, some brands are noticing an uptick in sales of certain products. While the consumer of the last 12 months has wanted almost exclusively for loungewear, the consumer of 2021 is beginning to look ahead with hope. What trends are we seeing and what can brands expect to prepare for?

What is ‘revenge shopping’?

This new wave of sales has been coined as ‘revenge shopping’. The evening dress and dainty bag are suddenly back in fashion now the immediate effects of COVID-19 look to be drawing to an eventual close. In a bid to return to a pre-pandemic life, consumers are willing to splurge on looking nice if they have furloughed income to spare, feeling assured with the vaccine rollouts and stimulus checks making their way into the general population. At our desks on the 38974th Zoom call of the day, we’re fantasising about what out post-pandemic lives will look like, willing as much of that to become a reality as possible – starting with our wardrobes. Revenge shopping first reared its head in China, after luxury brands saw sales surge following the curb of COVID last summer. The trend looks to also take hold in the West, presenting a unique opportunity for brand growth and customer reach.

What effect will revenge shopping have?

While not yet completely tangible the UK and US are starting to see shreds of revenge shopping used as marketing fodder. Brands such as MissPap have a shopping section dedicated to “21st June prep” while others carefully consider product launches to coincide with proposed lockdown lifting dates. Never has it been better for a product itself to be multi-functional, slotting into direction on how to take a Lockdown exit look from a dog walk to an evening cocktail party. This runs parallel to the increase in brands looking to expand their product horizons, being able to cater to a consumer as much as possible without them looking elsewhere by investing in areas previously undiscovered. For those of us that will want to do it all, it’s up to brands to toe the line between the desire to have fun and the practicalities of a roadmap out of lockdown. With travel also looking to rebound quickly (particularly in the US), preparing for holidays will be at the forefront of a consumer’s mind, even if they have to wait longer to do so. Those countries with tighter lockdown measure are expected to see this influx of sales a little later down the line, in a kind of ‘hope-buying’ strategy that will carry them through.

The most important take-away is making sure products have as much COVID-longevity as possible, regardless of its category. As much as formal wear is expected to rocket, that doesn’t mean casual loungewear will take a complete backseat. In places such as Australia where lockdown measures have eased, there’s still the demand for sleepwear and sweatpants, as many still want comfort from their purchases. This association with comfort is what will bridge the gap between 2020 and 2021, with a casual edge to dressing up expected. Think workwear with an elasticated waist – now we’ve had a sip of comfort, we won’t want to completely abandon it, even when we want to dress up to the nines.

Image source: https://twitter.com/stargirlfiles


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