1 The impact of covid-19
The judicial liquidation of Camaïeu, pronounced at the end of September, and the takeover of Pimkie are the latest manifestations to date of the difficulties in the clothing sector. This was not helped by its classification as a “non-essential” activity during the confinements of the economy to fight against the covid-19 epidemic. Stores had to keep their doors closed for a good part of 2020 and 2021, penalizing companies that made the bulk of their sales in stores.
In addition, consumers have massively turned away from “personal equipment” during this period: fewer outings and festive events, more work from home, budget allocation to holidays, etc.
2 The weight of inflation
For clothing, the end of the pandemic does not mean a return to the pre-covid-19 situation: sales in 2022 will remain nearly 10% lower than their 2019 level, explains Gildas Minvielle, director of the observatory. Economics from the French Fashion Institute (IFM). The reason: inflation. “Distributors have been forced to raise prices, which is always bad for consumption,” he continues.
“There is the increase in the cost of energy, rents and salaries”, but also “the repayment of loans guaranteed by the State (PGE) taken out during the covid-19 crisis, which further reduces the profitability of shops, abounds Emmanuel Le Roch, general delegate of Procos, federation of specialized trade. And consumers, who are affected by rising fuel, heating or food prices, tend not to spend much on clothing: rather a few days of vacation or a full shopping cart than a trip to the shops. .
3 Boutiques versus online sales
The French have been shopping less for a long time. This year, 15% of customers are still missing in stores compared to 2019, according to Emmanuel Le Roch. The average expenditure during a visit to a store has grown, but has not caught up with the level of 2019 either. before covid-19, customers being able to “better prepare their purchases or consume directly online”.
Here again, brands which, like Camaïeu, have not sufficiently adapted to “omnichannel”, ie the ability to combine online and in-store sales, are particularly penalized. According to research published by IFM and panelist Kantar in May, one-fifth of clothing sales in 2021 took place online, up from just 6% in 2009. The study estimated 2.3 billion fashion items purchased over the year 2019, i.e. approximately 46 units per year and per person.
4 The overdue mid-range
Another heavy trend, the mid-range is finding it more and more difficult to exist. “In fashion, you need rough edges, to be more attractive than the competition”, which brands in this category have more difficulty doing, believes Gildas Minvielle. This consumer trend, also in force in the food sector with a “discount” offer on the one hand and a more upscale offer on the other, is particularly beneficial to “outlets” or destocking stores. And, online, to “ultra fast fashion” players, such as Shein, targeting the youngest in particular. Note, however: not all historic brands are in difficulty.
5 Rise of the second hand
The second hand is also growing very strongly. Facilitated by online players such as Vinted or Le Bon Coin, it owes its growth to more attractive prices than new, but also to the gradual awareness by consumers of the significant ecological and societal weight of the textile industry. , regularly stigmatized by associations for the defense of the planet.
In response, more and more brands are selling second-hand clothes in addition to their usual new offer.
Some brands have also adopted other economic models to be more virtuous, in particular with on-demand production.
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