Jackets in the Era of New Normal

Outerwear takes on a new meaning in the era of Covid-19 as seasonality becomes irrelevant. This report investigates how the outerwear market has evolved in the first half of 2020 with data insights into styles, colours, pricing and more.

Written by Atiqah KamarudinJuly 15, 2020

Introduction

Key Insights

  • A Return to Minimalism: Consumers preferred classic and understated designs as they provide versatility for virtual meetings and outdoor protection.
  • Core Colour Dominance: In line with minimalism, seasonal colours took a back seat this season.
  • Growing Sustainability Effort: The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered an awareness on the importance of sustainability, with more brands embarking on this journey.

Outerwear no longer conforms to seasonality, as it has taken on a new meaning in the age of Covid-19. As lockdown restrictions have eased in most countries, many have viewed outerwear as a functional and protective garment. Due to the uncertainty around the contamination of the virus, designers and suppliers have also started experimenting with materials which have disease-resistant properties.

This report aims to uncover the early demand signals of Jackets on entering the new normal.

Over 4,000 data points were screened from January to June 2020 against the same period in 2019 across womenswear Jackets category on Zara, H&M, River Island, Cos and Maison Scotch.

 

All data used in this report comes from products retailing online as tracked by Omnilytics, unless otherwise mentioned.

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Trade Performance

Strong Demand

Despite a huge decline in newness from March to May, the demand for Jackets remained stable. The need to look the part for video conference calls from home has contributed to the steady sell-outs in these months.

With people spending more time outside due to the easing of lockdown restrictions, sell-out for Jackets rose strongly in June. It exceeded last year’s rate by 62%, signalling a renewed purpose for the category.

While most of the brands observed a huge decline in full-price sell-outs, Zara led with a 7% YoY improvement.

Discount Mindset

Covid-19 posed a challenge for brands to drive full-price sell-out. The number of products on discount from March to May was up by 75% on the same period last year, as brands resorted to discounting to move stock. While total sell-out improved by 8%, sell-out at full price dropped by more than half against last year.

H&M performed poorly with a below-average sell-out rate. The group’s net sales also reportedly fell by 50%, caused by the store closures in Q2.

Cos, the only brand with more newness this year, had 186% YoY increase in sell-out but was predominantly driven by discount.

 

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Subcategory Performance

Top Performers

Blazers & Tailored Jackets, Denim Jackets and Biker Jackets performed well during the season, contributing to 57% of the total Jackets assortment. These 3 subcategories not only recorded high sell-out at full price but also had strong growth YoY. The bestselling items mostly focused on classic design styles.

Biker Jackets demonstrated a great potential to drive full-price sell-out. The subcategory traded strongly at full price despite its high median price, which was 2x higher than its counterparts.

These performing subcategories were mostly led by the fast fashion giant, Zara, followed by H&M and River Island.

Losers

Meanwhile, Parkas and Bomber Jackets were the worst performing subcategories, as they were largely driven by discounts.

 

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Subcategory Performance (cont’d)

The ‘Buy Now, Wear Now’ Opportunity

While not synonymous to the Spring/Summer season, Quilted & Padded Jackets had a stable sell-out throughout the season. They also traded better than last year, by 54%. Despite the shorter selling window, the subcategory served as an opportunity for brands to take advantage of the ‘buy now, wear now’ consumer. Basic oversized Puffer Jackets were particularly popular, signalling a growing need for protective outerwear among consumers.

Opportunity for Utilitarian Style

Another promising subcategory included Shirt Jackets, where sell-out gained momentum in April and surpassed the June performance of the seasonal staple, Denim Jackets. Brands were also seen investing more in Shirt Jackets than a year ago, capitalising on the utility trend.

 

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Bestselling Styles

Classic Silhouettes Dominate

Consumers’ growing preference for minimal, classic styles during the pandemic translated well into Jackets. The bestselling SKUs this year were highly versatile for the new normal, with styles easily transitioning from Zoom meetings to the office to socially distanced drinks outside. Double-breasted Blazers, regular length Denim Jackets and classic-cut Biker Jackets were among designs preferred by consumers.

The Seasonless Element

While the sold-out SKUs last year were comprised of spring’s bright shades and loud animal prints, this year’s choices were mostly of timeless pieces – essential to building a capsule wardrobe. Relaxed jackets in solid core colours dominated the bestsellers list, as seen at Zara and H&M. River Island, best known for its progressive style, also observed a shift towards trans-seasonal design.

 

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Meet the Author

Atiqah Kamarudin

Nur Atiqah Kamarudin is a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at Omnilytics. With past experience at Nielsen and Euromonitor, she has spent years analysing data and unearthing insights to help brands and retailers make informed decisions. She currently produces reports on the fashion industry and its changing retail scene across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Southeast Asia.

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