IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section


How do you foresee consumer sentiments changing after lockdown?

Consumer sentiment will be conservative after lockdown
The Indian textile and apparel industry, believed to be the fourth largest in the world, is looking at a loss of around $2 billion in the coming months. It is given to understand that due to the necessary social distancing norms,  malls will not be permitted to reopen until the pandemic is contained, hugely impacting the business of brands and retailers. Fibre2Fashion spoke to few of them to understand what kind of strategy they are devising to deal with the challenges as Covid-19 continues to take its toll.

There will be a slow movement of couture since there will be a reduction in the number of events till the end of the year. There will be a need for more casual/semi-casual attire to attract consumers for the short run. Customers both online and offline will be cautious and may see a reduced spending power. Their needs will change, as social gatherings will reduce till the end of 2020.

Consumer sentiment will be conservative after lockdown in non-essential goods and services, and hence we are bracing ourselves up for a weak winter as well. Winter sales account for 60-70 per cent of our annual revenue. Many customers will look at buying needs online as compared to offline simply since they are being trained to look at more options online and this will lead to a lifestyle change. Maybe due to social distancing and the reduction of in-person meetings and large gatherings, fashion designers may have to tweak styles. This will be a learning curve. Gloves, head dresses and masks may be the new fashion accessories!

In the near term, the changes will be stark, leaning more towards value, and we expect more rational behaviour. If you need it, buy it. If you don’t, then defer. But as we put a few months behind us after the crisis is definitely over, I see a bounce back of the original buying behaviour. Consumers are known to have a short memory and, in this case, people would do anything to forget these days we are all spending.

We are confident that markets will bounce back after the lockdown. This is an opportunity for India to emerge as one of the most sought after countries for sourcing, manufacturing, retail innovations and building fashion and intellectual platforms like IBFW. It may take some time; we may also have to redefine ourselves and add more innovation to our businesses, but we will survive!

It will take time for India to feel comfortable to shop again and certainly longer for us to open all our stores. In the future, retailers will see a huge dip in business as revenues decline before it starts rebuilding. Once markets slowly begin to reopen, customers will return to stores; however the pace will be far slower.

We definitely feel that people after this Covid-19 crisis will wear more comfort clothing that is simple, easy and less dramatic. Designers will start designing more easy and comfortable fashion pieces with minimal embroidery and simple and elegant cuts. Personalised clothing—bespoke is the new big change, keeping in mind budgets and personal style.

Published on: 25/05/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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