What Will 2021 Have In Store For Brands?
16 December 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
Somehow, it’s December 2020 and many of us are scratching our heads wondering how we made it here. The fashion industry itself has remained completely unpredictable, with both brands and individuals learning to navigate the unchartered waters of pandemic consumption. Sadly, much of the turbulence still has no clear end in sight, meaning our lessons and strategies from the last twelve months will now need to spill over. What can we expect from the industry in 2021, and what are the overall points to bear in mind?
What has 2020 taught us?
It's no surprise that 2020 has been the year of digital victory. In fight or flight circumstances, many brands have had to switch their efforts solely to online commerce in the face of physical stores being closed. Digital also looks to be the champion of 2021, with a significant shift in the mechanics of online marketplaces apparent after a global doubling of e-commerce gross sales. We can look to Asia to see how digital may manifest as the largest retail alternative, with brands collaborating with opportunities outside of industry to ensure the online experience always remains innovative. Although there is no doubt an extremely profound structural shift in the industry’s digitalisation, it remains unclear just how much we will need to rely on it. Early forecasts warn of up to 1,200 store closures globally, as continued physical retail struggle is anticipated.
Is it all bad news for brands?
The flipside to this is just how many consumers actually want to carry on with this digital way of consumption. Above anything else, we’ve learned that human interaction when purchasing is both greatly treasured and missed. Going into 2021, there will be a pressing need for this to be able to maintain while many choose to concentrate on digital progress. The focus must stay on how to keep retail exciting and engaging, in whatever form. Monitoring continuing shifts in shopper behaviour, buyer expertise and monetary outcomes will all help to form a solution, as well as being open minded to include new trends into an existing business model (such as incorporation of growing livestream retail). Alongside opportunities for smaller brands, there could also be greater choices for wholesalers too, as many are using the pandemic as a catalyst to experiment instead of rigidly sticking to favoured choices. Consumers will be craving ‘new’ more than ever before, as the chances to experience this outside of high street or online retail remain limited. This inventiveness could also extend to advertising design and multiple income streams for a brand, with an omnichannel and newly accessible approach (e.g. QR codes, messaging apps) renewing vigour for product discovery. The 2021 approach will need to stay focused on supporting shopper buying selections, while utilising everything 2020 has shown to be beneficial in order to stay on top of connection and innovation.
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