The retail apocalypse is unfortunately knocking down U.S. retailers of all sizes with conditions worsening due to the coronavirus. Roughly 8,000 retailers shut down in 2017, which has nearly doubled in 2020 to an alarming 15,542 more store closures, as reported by Forbes. Like a domino effect, Congressional Research Services discovered that every state in the U.S. during April 2020 hit unemployment rates even higher than the Great Recession.
Despite the grim state of the U.S. economy, multi-brand fashion ecommerce store Differio recently reported strong growth in total annual revenue. According to the 2020 Differio Annual Revenue Report, this US-based online trendy menswear company averaged an astonishing 35% profit increase with a market value estimated at $64 million.
Like other fashion companies navigating around the pandemic, Differio paused production on their “going out” styles of trendy men’s clothing to focus on pandemic-driven trends instead, including men’s face masks, loungewear, and activewear. Additionally, they’ve restructured their facilities to meet COVID-19 regulations in order to continue fulfilling thousands of daily international orders on time.
Although the Differio annual revenue report is a promising sign for similar fashion-forward brands, much of the businesswear market has fallen into COVID-related financial hardships. Telecommuting is dominating nearly half of the U.S. working population, especially workers based in metropolitan areas, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey reported by Bloomberg. Currently, the most telecommuters reside in San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York, ranging from 45% to 56% of the population. Since people are predominantly connecting via online messaging and video calls, there’s less pressure to “look the part” at home, inevitably pushing businesswear brands like Men’s Wearhouse into deeper bankruptcy.
As an alternative for business casual looks, people are preferring the out-of-office trend – lounge outfits heavily reliant on comfort that’s still balanced with style. According to a Statista data report, the global loungewear market is already on track to generate sales around $37 billion in 2021.
People are naturally drawn to comfortable clothing during uncomfortable times, but trends are still crucial for driving fashion sales, not just comfort alone. According to Differio’s conversion rates as noted in the annual revenue report, the majority of Differio consumers are repurchasing men’s streetwear styles with a fashion-forward appeal that can be worn for staying in or going out, such as stylish joggers, graphic leggings, and designer sneakers. Consumers are seeking fashion that not only makes them feel good, but also makes them look good, even if they’re spending most of their time at home.
The U.S. athleisure market is predicted to grow by roughly 6.5% through 2023, according to data by Euromonitor and Coresight reported by CNBC. Differio is also forecasted for double-digit growth, which is looking more promising with vaccines on the way. More importantly, any company that can meet consumer demand in times of instability is likely to provide a high return on investment beyond a COVID-driven economy.