The phrase, “home for the holidays” takes on a whole new meaning this year. As families decide who to invite over for dinner, I must admit I’m kind of excited at the thought of curling up by the fireplace with my smaller family unit. I’m not alone in my plans to spend more time at home, and this type of consumer outlook will have strong implications on how we all dress, shop, and even socialize this holiday.

Consumers Cozy Up to Comfy Categories*

Sweatshirts, sweatpants, active bottoms, sleepwear, and socks are forecasted to make up 31% of total U.S. apparel spend this holiday season, compared to 26% in Q4 2019. This is a call to action for the apparel industry to make stronger connections with consumers’ current needs and behavior. Entertaining through smaller gatherings, investing in products for the home, and a reduction in travel are just some of the themes expected to influence this holiday. These themes are tied to consumers’ quest for comfort during uncomfortable times, and how we dress will reflect this trend. From cozy loungewear to active glam and pajama-inspired fashion, consumers will not only be dressing differently, but this frame of mind will also lead them to be more selective with their apparel holiday gifting choices.   

E-commerce is Essential**

In fact, e-commerce may very well be the only platform some consumers plan to use for their holiday shopping. Given the current trend in online market penetration, online apparel sales could range from 30-35% of industry sales within the next few months, with the potential to be even higher for holiday, especially if COVID-19 cases spike. In fact, apparel has even gained a new consumer for online shopping: Boomers gained two share points and grew their online spend by 19% year-to-date through August – faster than any other age group. This generation is wealthier and considered at a higher risk from COVID-19 complications, so understanding how to retain these consumers beyond holiday will be important for a company’s digital strategy.

Social Sells this Season***

Social selling will elevate online sales by creatively speaking to one’s unique consumers. The power of word-of-mouth within the fashion space could make or break a trend. One-third of those buying fashion items say they are most influenced by recommendations or comments on social media. This is putting a lot of faith into people they may not actually know firsthand. These engagements will continue to strengthen – especially as shoppers may be less likely to shop in-store with friends this year, but still long for a human connection while shopping from home.

Connecting through this theme of “home” will be apparel’s best approach to a very different selling season. While this holiday will be an untraditional year with regards to retail, it will be traditional when it comes to spending time at home with family. Cheers to a happy and safe time at home with loved ones this holiday.   

*Source: The NPD Group/ Future of Apparel 2020
Source: The NPD Group/ U.S. Consumer Tracking
Service, January-August 2020
***Source: The NPD Group/ NPD Trend Tracker survey done in conjunction with NPD
partner CivicScience, August 2020