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Less but better: the fall of hope retail

The Post-Coronavirus Consumer Online Session
Tuesday May 19th, 10.00am EST / 3.00pm BST / 4.00pm CET
How fashion & lifestyle brands will survive and thrive in the post-coronavirus climate
Book your place here

 

As we write this article, we’ve learned that Neiman Marcus has become the latest in a string of retailers to buckle in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. On these shores, Oasis, Warehouse, Debenhams and Laura Ashley have all fallen into administration.

In an industry now all but grounded to a halt, brands without considerable financial fortification, a devoted customer base, or a forward-thinking and relevant product offering, have found their shortcomings writ large.

And with offline purchase intent dropping by 70-80%, and online intent by 30-40% in Europe and North America according to a McKinsey survey conducted last month, the seismic shift in consumer spending, is matched only by the shift in consumer mentality.

product planning post-coronavirus

Distanced from impulse purchases, not drawn in off the high-street by seasonal sales, we are a public who has, by and large, experienced a consumption reset – we’re looking only at what we need in our day to day lives, and the list is short one.

We’re keeping kitchen cupboards stocked, we’re tending to our immediate environment through gardening and home improvement, and we’re looking at innovative ways to stay fit and to keep our children entertained.

This is all circumstantial of course, and our gardens will likely be looking a little worse for wear by next summer. But whilst some prognosticators say that this too shall pass, and the masses will return to spending, what they choose to purchase will change fundamentally.

If lockdown has given us anything, it is a renewed perspective on what’s truly important and valuable in life, which will be reflected in our spending habits. Quite simply the post-pandemic consumer will want less, but better, which manifests as more considered products, that respond to a real demand, manufactured in a way that doesn’t happen the environment or communities.

And the swing of the pendulum does not favour the retailer who peddles mediocre product in excessive volumes, manufactured in an unsustainable manner.

We call these kind of operations ‘hope retail’ – creating a product and hoping for the best, without a thought to consequences. Hope retail represents the worst of what we’re leaving behind – and leave it behind we will. We’re predicting that as many as 50% of hope retailers will no longer be in business 5-8 years from now.

A demand for ‘less but better’ will of course impact fast fashion as we know it. That doesn’t mean that brands will have the luxury of longer lead times – they will always be required to work to short product lifecycles to remain relevant – but considering the lifetime of a product will become essential; selecting the most relevant material, shape and colour use, and considering how product features can extend lifespan of a product.

We will be looking in depth at ‘hope retail’ in our next online session and the steps brands must take to survive and thrive post-pandemic.

Join us on Tuesday 19th May at 10.00am EST / 3.00pm BST / 4.00pm CET as we host the fourth in our series of online sessions about the post-coronavirus landscape. We’ve welcomed more than 800 fashion professionals so far as we cover topics from future consumer expectations and case studies of successful brand responses, to methods of remote comp shopping and staying on top of trends in lockdown. Plus, we’ll be hosting a live Q&A with Trendstop founder, Jaana, so you can have your most pressing questions answered.

 

Book your place here

 

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