This month’s episode of Euromonitor International’s Fashion Friday podcast analyzes the key trends shaping South Africa’s apparel industry over the medium term. The region has experienced recessionary economic conditions over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Middle East and Africa, the industry value fell by 15% due to foreclosure restrictions as industry demand and supply were affected. As a result, a few trends have emerged, and some are gaining in importance due to COVID-19.
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There has been a rise in digitization. All major clothing retailers, local and international, are now present online and have invested heavily in their e-commerce platform to improve user experience. Pure online retailers such as Superbalist and Zando, who already had a competitive advantage over apparel specialists when it comes to their e-commerce business, also have a mobile app. Cell phones are the device of choice for online shopping in South Africa.
Another popular trend among consumers is the ability to pay cash on delivery. This payment method is convenient for consumers who don’t have a credit card, bank account, or simply don’t trust online businesses and prefer to receive their order and then pay on the spot. Digitization is visible in many aspects of the business, not only in terms of purchases, but also payments and delivery.
In addition to cash on delivery, new payment options have been used by retailers to stimulate demand. There was the introduction of a payment service called Pay Just Now, which is the digital version of the traditional method that locals know about. With Pay Just Now, you can receive your products after making the first payment, unlike traditional stores where you must complete payment before you can take possession of your order.
The third trend that is gaining ground globally is the increase in casual wear. Consumers have shifted their new purchases and wardrobes towards more casual and lounging clothes, wanting to be comfortable and relaxed, yet still presentable. Retailers have responded with softer fabrics and more comfortable fits as we’ve seen consumers stay home longer.
COVID-19 has had devastating effects on lives and livelihoods, with many businesses having to close their doors. In response, this has prompted many consumers to buy more consciously, boosting their demand for local brands. In doing so, it has been a way of signaling solidarity and playing its part during the pandemic and difficult economic conditions. The pandemic has caused massive disruption in supply chains with nationwide lockdowns, port backlogs and shipping delays. Producing locally creates the benefit of having a more agile supply chain, being able to make style changes or cancel orders much closer to delivery. Given the current market conditions where agility is required, it is in the plans of retailers to support and invest in the local manufacturing industry.
Written and created for FashionUnited by Euromonitor. Check out other fashion related podcasts on their website. And find out more about by Euromonitor here.