COVID-19 drives digitalisation of fashion brands in Eastern Europe

This month’s Fashion Friday podcast series by Euromonitor
International analyses the impact of digitalisation of fashion brands
in Eastern Europe.

Digitalisation became a part of Eastern European fashion brands’
strategy a few years back, however, the impact of the pandemic forced
the further development of the trend. Due to COVID-19 restrictions
such as remote work, lockdown and travel restrictions, consumers were
forced to spend more time at home, thus more time online. General
panic of getting infected reduced visits to stores and led to
consumers searching for options to get their orders delivered straight
to their home. The majority of the clothing stores in Eastern Europe
were closed for months and once reopened the footfall was limited.
Under these conditions, e-commerce has become a convenient way for
buying clothing and footwear thus for fashion brands to strengthen
their position.

Apparel and footwear was already the industry with one of the
highest penetrations of e-commerce, which the pandemic further
strengthened. In 2019, e-commerce penetration in the apparel and
footwear market was 13 percent, and by 2020 the share of e-commerce
increased to 20 percent. Overall, the channel increased by 32 percent
RSP US$ value.

The pandemic also showed a huge potential for online retailers to
enter the market. AboutYou successfully started their business in more
Eastern European countries including Hungary, Lithuania and Romania.
The retailer launched a massive marketing campaign, which made it
difficult not to be heard of. They began collaborating with local
influencers, who actively promoted their brands. The importance of
influencers in the promotion process has significantly grown over the
past years in all markets in the region. It’s worth mentioning,
however, that Eastern European consumers are still price-sensitive and
deals seekers. Most of the times, influencers provide discount codes
to all the fashion brands they are promoting, which is extremely
appealing for consumers. Additionally, apparel and footwear brands’
presence on social media platforms of brands is a must, as this is
where their targeted customers spent most of their time.

Written and created for FashionUnited by Euromonitor. Explore more
fashion-related podcasts by .Euromonitor here

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