Trends in fashion retail

By Davy Kestens

In this report we take a closer look at the Belgian fashion market. What evolutions have we noticed? What are the market shares? Who shops second hand? What is the impact of second-hand on traditional retailers? How are local retailers doing? And what has been the impact of the corona crisis on e-commerce?

The fashion market is active like never before. The lockdown in 2020 resulted in a growth in e-commerce in Belgium. The second hand market is also flourishing, fuelled by a growing interest in sustainability and a keener ecological awareness. But price-conscious consumers are also shifting towards pre-owned clothing.

The share of clothing purchases in the total average family budget dropped by more than one fifth in 2020 compared to 2019. This can be explained by a slight decrease in the number of people who bought clothing, but mainly by a lower amount spent.

Starting in mid-2021, the market gradually recovers. The results of the third quarter even exceed those of the same period in 2019. However, this does not mean that everything is back to normal. The corona crisis was a catalyst for trends that were previously on the horizon.

E-commerce got a huge boost because of the mandatory closure of stores. But even now that the measures have been scaled back, online sales still take a bigger bite out of the turnover than before the corona crisis.

Despite all the campaigns to support Belgian and local retail, local retailers were hit especially hard during the lockdown. They have, however, succeeded in bringing their share back to pre-crisis levels.

The second-hand fashion market is experiencing spectacular growth, driven by user-friendly re-commerce platforms such as Vinted. The number of buyers of second-hand clothes tripled in two years and, on top of that, in 2020 they spent on average 70% more than the year before. 

Second-hand buyers tend to be young and female. And they spend about 50% more than the average Belgian on clothes. They are increasingly nibbling away at the sales of mainly the big fast fashion retailers. As they get older, will they continue the habit of buying second-hand items and will the market become more mature with them?

Cake Insights provides real-time insights based on real customer behavior to closely monitor all fluctuations and trends in the market.

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