The number of fashion discounts is accelerating, the latest consumer report from sales aggregate site LovetheSales.com showed late on Tuesday. In fact, online fashion discounts rose in high-double-digits year-on-year last week as the fashion retail sector got ready for its biggest physical stores clearance sale ever when lockdown ends.
That's no surprise given that the late spring and early summer season has been a washout due to the lockdown with vast amounts of stockpiling up unsold in warehouses.
It means retailers are in desperate need to sell excess stock and “are planning to offer unprecedented levels of discounting to shoppers this summer”. Online retailers have been kickstarting demand by offering 43% more clothing discounts than this time last year in the seven days from May 11 to 17, an increase of 13% week-on-week.
The categories that have seen discounts climbing include handbags (+88% year-on-year), jeans (+66%), dresses (+64%), T-shirts and vests (+56%), and swimwear (+50%).
LovetheSales co-founder Stuart McClure said: “We're already seeing a huge surge in sales online, and we'll see the same in-store when they reopen. Under the circumstances retailers find themselves in, we expect this to be a record-breaking summer sales period for retail discounting.”
McClure added that so much that has happened globally linked to this pandemic has undermined fashion sales: “Initially, China's shutdown meant chaos for orders and deliveries of goods that led to delays in arrival to the UK — this meant reduced selling time for those goods. Then stores closed in the UK, meaning further loss of opportunity to sell.”
THE KATE EFFECT
Meanwhile, LovetheSales also said the Duchess of Cambridge is continuing to influence those shoppers who are still buying fashion at present, her Zoom appearances boosting her high profile even further.
The latest report said: “Kate has appeared publicly on Zoom eight times in lockdown. We compared the demand from her eight outfits worn in lockdown to the previous eight looks she wore before lockdown started in March. On average, Kate’s lockdown outfits will attract 58% more online searches than one of her normal stately looks.”
And McClure added: “UK shoppers have been unable to hit the stores for two months now and more women than ever are turning to Kate for fashion inspiration. Kate’s popularity and the global appeal are so significant, there isn’t another public figure out there that can match her influence in the virtual space.”
The fashion hits that she’s worn on Zoom during April and May include the Beulah London Calla Rose dress that saw searches for rose print dresses rising 42% in 24 hours. A Sandro scalloped white cardigan she wore drove searches for ‘scalloped neckline clothing’ 29% higher since last Friday.
Her Altuzarra Aimee dress sold out online in days after she wore it and drove searches for polka-dot dresses up 66%. And her LK Bennett Cayla dress (first worn in 2015) saw searches rising 133% in 24 hours.
Meanwhile, a tree print silk dress by Matchesfashion’s house brand Raey saw sales rising 193% over the course of a single week, before selling out. And last month, online searches for her Anouk dress by Ghost rose 121%, also leading to a sell-out.
But while the former Kate Middleton is seeing high demand for whatever she wears, high street brands are still struggling. LovetheSales said that in the latest week, demand for high street brands is down 145% year-on-year, a five-year low for May. Demand for luxury brands rose 32% over the same week, while premium brands just about managed to hold their own with only a 2% dip.