In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a definite shift in the lifestyle of people. With the new norm of social distancing, there are fewer social outings with increased time spent at home. This will clearly pave the way for increased demand of casual and comfortable clothing vis a vis party or festive-wear.
Travel will also take a back seat leading to fewer trips abroad and hence heightened interest in shopping locally. This may lead to a new-found respect for the treasure cove of our own heritage and goodness of indigenous products after long following fads and aping the West. We will see the consumers increasingly lean towards buying locally manufactured products and supporting homegrown companies. This will be a good opportunity for Indian apparel companies to match international standards to appeal to discerning consumers.
The COVID-19 pandemic will serve as a wake-up call for consumers to be more conscious of their product choices and behavior. If one goes by the early signals of this global health crisis, there is definitely an increase in consumer demand for products associated with trust, well-being and collective good, particularly in categories which come directly in contact with the human body such as food, beauty, personal care and even garments. As consumers spend less money but more consciously, the expectation for sustainable practices, fair working conditions and ethical standards will become increasingly important. During the pandemic, we have witnessed how consumers have been very encouraging of brands which have demonstrated social responsibility while prioritizing environmental sustainability.
The ‘woke’ parents of today are getting increasingly aware of the ill-effects that garments laden with harmful chemicals can have on the health of their children. They are also interested in the environmental and social impact of the product that they are consuming. Consumers are now beginning to understand the perils of genetic modification of crops and use of toxic chemicals. The young parents of today, care much more about getting the right product and aligning with brands whose philosophy they resonate with.
With a majority of the population working from home while managing household chores, it seems unlikely that people will seek the help of external parties such as house help in the days to come. Given this, parents would prefer functional, classic designs which are easy to maintain and fuss-free. Furthermore, parents of children who suffer from eczema, allergies and skin rashes are likely to opt for organic and natural fabrics.
Natural fabrics breathe better and the organic status of the garment ensures that there are no toxins that are used in the making of the garment. We believe that children need clothing that allows them to move freely and not restrict their movements. Clothes should be functional, good for indoor and outdoor playtime and machine washable, for the convenience of parents.
There is likely to be a shift towards e-commerce as far as channel preference of consumers goes. Crowded marketplaces and malls would not be preferred places to shop when products can be delivered safely at one’s doorstep. This growing preference for online shopping will be a game changer for retail brands.