Things have changed a lot for consumers in the past year, but maybe not in all the ways we anticipated. At the start of 2021, we were all settling into radical changes in our consumption patterns, but it was unclear how much longer the pandemic would last and how permanent those changes would be.
As 2022 dawns, the flux continues. Successive waves of COVID variants make clear that the pandemic is not yet behind us. New challenges have emerged too, in the form of uneven recoveries, supply shocks, and inflation.
We wanted to understand how these factors are impacting consumers’ mindset when it comes to shopping for fashion heading into 2022, so we conducted a study. Many of the trends we predicted last year - more mindful shopping, a shift to e-commerce, more attention to sustainability, and a desire to be heard by brands - have continued to pan out. At the same time, new themes have emerged. Based on the research here are some of our key predictions for what consumer fashion shopping trends will look like in 2022:
In our survey, a third of respondents said they plan to buy fewer clothes this year. 40% said they planned to invest in higher-quality items, and only 32% said they wanted lower prices from brands. If the pandemic and an increasing awareness of sustainability have caused consumers to rethink their relationship with fashion, it appears that for many, this is manifesting in a less-is-more approach.
Of all the groups we surveyed, younger consumers reported the largest increase in spending over the past year (17%). Overall consumer spending is on the rise, but younger consumers appear the most eager to start buying clothes again.
Consumers consistently say they have made changes to their shopping habits as a result of the pandemic - paying more attention to sustainability, doing more of their shopping online, and changing the brands they shop from. What’s more, a striking majority (86%) say they plan to keep at least some of these changes in place permanently.
A majority of consumers (55%) say they hold brands primarily responsible for reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry. When asked what they want to see from fashion brands in 2022, 62% said they wanted more focus on sustainability and/or ethical labour practices. Consumers have high expectations from brands - and they want to be heard.
For the rest of the findings about how consumers changed their shopping habits over the past year and their plans for how they will shop in 2022, you can check out the full report here.