Euromonitor International’s Fashion Friday podcast this month examines the top trends that will shape the South African apparel industry over the medium term. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the region has experienced recessionary economic conditions over the past year. The Middle East and Africa were the hardest hit regions. Lockdown restrictions in the Middle East & Africa caused a 15% decline in the value of the sector. Both the supply and demand sides were affected. COVID-19 has helped to bring out a few trends that are now more prominent.

Digitalization has seen a significant increase. To improve the user experience, all major apparel retailers (local and international) have an online presence. Online retailers like Superbalist or Zando have an advantage over other apparel companies when it comes to e-commerce. They also have a mobile application. South Africa’s online shopping is done via mobile phones.

Consumers are also increasingly interested in the Cash-on-Delivery option. This payment option is ideal for those who don’t have a bank account, credit card or trust online businesses. Digitalization is evident in many areas of the business. This includes shopping, payments, and delivery.

Retailers have new payment options to increase demand, apart from Cash-on-Delivery. Pay Just Now is a digital version of the traditional lay-by method that locals are used to. Pay Just Now allows you to take delivery of your products immediately after your first payment. This is in contrast to traditional stores, where you must make full payment before you can get your order.

Globally, the third trend is casual wear. The rise in casual wear has led consumers to shift their wardrobes and purchases towards more casual, loungewear options. They want to feel comfortable and stylish while looking professional. As consumers have stayed home longer, retailers have responded with softer fabrics and more comfortable fittings.

white long sleeve dress on black chair

COVID-19 had devastating effects on people’s lives and livelihoods. Many businesses were forced to close down. Many people have started to shop more mindfully, which has stimulated their desire for local brands. It has also been a way of showing solidarity and helping to alleviate the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. The pandemic caused major disruptions in supply chains, including lockdowns across the country, port backlogs, delays, and national lockdowns. Local production has the advantage of a more flexible supply chain that can make styling changes and cancel orders closer to delivery. Retailers should support local manufacturing and invest in it, given the current market conditions that require agility.

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