Survey: Apparel shopping, livestreaming show promise post-pandemic

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
jeans shopper

A new survey indicates that as consumers emerge from COVID-19, they want to look good and are interested in live online shopping events.

Global retail bank, payments and shopping service is releasing “The State of Smooth: 2021 Reopening Insights Reportexamining current U.S. shopper preferences in sectors including fashion and apparel, beauty and wellness, and fitness and outdoor. According to the study, 89% of shoppers plan to refresh their wardrobe. Popular steps will include cleaning out closets (72%), purchasing new accessories (59%), splurging on "going out" clothes (54%), and investing in new basics (54%). 

In addition, 89% of shoppers plan to spend more money on clothes now than they did throughout the pandemic, with one-third intending to spend $100–$250 more each month. Two-thirds (64%) say they need to purchase new fitness apparel as soon as possible. 

Klarna data also indicates virtual livestream shopping events show promise, with older audiences as early adopters. While only 25% of shoppers report having attended a virtual livestream shopping event, 60% of those who have tried it say that it improved their online shopping experience. Baby boomers (28%) and Gen Xers (27%) are more likely to have participated in these events  than millennials (23%) or Gen Zers (20%).

Almost seven in 10 (69%) shoppers also plan to attend in-person events within the next six months, and 70% are willing to spend more money to have great in-person experiences now compared to prior to the pandemic.

With more opportunities to get out and gather in person, nearly three-quarters (74%) of shoppers plan to spend more money on makeup than they did throughout lockdown. In May 2021, more people bought beauty products in physical stores (42%) than online (28%). This was up significantly compared to numbers in March 2021, when the number of people who shopped in physical stores was equal to those buying online (26%).

Other interesting findings include:

  • Seven in 10 (69%) shoppers say the pandemic changed their shopping habits, with 80% saying they now prefer to shop online, 74% now looking for flexible
  • A significant majority of shoppers (80%) also missed the in-person shopping experience—especially Gen Z and millennials. Younger shoppers (Gen Zers: 33%, Millennials: 27%) were more likely than older shoppers (Gen Xers: 23%, Baby Boomers: 22%) to miss in-person shopping "a ton."

The study features insights from consumer surveys, as well as Klarna's proprietary shopping and app data.

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