The pandemic has transformed people’s daily conducts across all aspects of life: work, exercise and even fashion. As lockdown restrictions start to ease in western countries, it is easier to understand just how radical the effects of the pandemic have been on our choices.
Trend researchers have already observed that the kinds of wear people are shopping for have changed – comfortable fits rule supreme over slimmer shapes and loungewear is seemingly more widespread than ever. Nevertheless, the ways in which people are shopping have changed just as much.
Kristen Gall, Retail Expert and President of Rakuten Rewards, has described new consumer behaviors as “revenge shopping,” which she defines as, “a phenomenon where people are spending money on items and experiences that they felt they were deprived of last year.”
The pandemic affects shopping habits for years to come
Gall describes the future of shopping to reflect a repetition of history, similar to the 1920s following the flu of 1918.
“Revenge shopping will resemble what we saw during the Roaring Twenties, post-WW1 and the last pandemic – a surging economy that will drive consumers to shop for more of the finer things that many felt they were deprived of due to the pandemic,” Gall explained.
This phenomenon will not be short-lived, still it will not be forever. Gall advises that consumers will be more happy paying higher prices as we surface from the pandemic, though over time “price sensitivity will normalize and will more closely resemble pre-pandemic habits.”
Suitability is more important than ever
A consumer demand for added conveniences in shopping experiences has been on the rise for several years, and in a post-COVIS world, this demand will only get stronger.
“Convenience will only play a bigger role in the way consumers shop, and alternative shopping options we saw bloom during the pandemic will only become the norm,” Gall said.
Retails have already been integrating omnichannel offerings to integrate digital and physical shopping, meeting the consumer where they please. Services like buy online, pick up in-store, curbside pick-up, digital checkout, virtual concierge, will come to be expected by consumers.
Pandemic changes style preferences for future trends
Consumers have two key preferences when it comes to what types of clothes they choose to spend their money on: elevated “going out” styles, and comfortable everyday clothing.
After spending so much time at home over the past year, consumers have come to realize the importance of comfort, and therefore prioritize this when making style choices. At the same time, people have grown bored with basic wardrobe items and crave the opportunity to dress up when they can.
Gall believes these preferences will make themselves known in the coming seasons.
“As a result of relaxed lockdown restrictions and the opportunities to travel and attend more events in person, consumers will purchase items that they can show off,” she said. “The concept of the ‘going-out’ outfit will come back in a big way and we will see people shopping for items like dresses, heels, jewelry, and swimwear.