Kayla Marci

July 1, 2020

Did you buy into these 9 best selling products this season?

Despite the fashion industry reeling from the effects of coronavirus, these 9 best-selling products emerged as the MVPs of SS20.

Hear that? That’s the sound of global retailers breathing a collective sigh of relief, wrapping up what has undoubtedly been a tough season of trade. It’s not all doom and gloom though.

We already know the impact loungewear and activewear had on shaping retailers’ assortments during the coronavirus pandemic. Now we’re shouting out some of the winning styles of 2020 to date, as well as sharing intel on where they’re headed.

Thought 2020 was going to be your year? It still can! Harnessing the power of market intelligence can help retailers make the most profitable decisions for their trading categories. Reach out for a demo.

First, who’s owning 2020? And how are they doing it?

Boohoo Group reported strong demand for athleisure during lockdown and boosted online sales rose by 45% in the three months to May. The fast fashion giant also added to its ever-growing portfolio of brands, snapping up Oasis and Warehouse, which fell into administration during COVID-19.

From the first quarter to the end of March, e-commerce sales at L’Oreal grew by 53% YoY. While there is still work to be done, strides were made to build a more diverse and sustainable company. Recently, transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf was appointed to its Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board. While words like ‘whitening,’ ‘fair,’ light’ and ‘lightening’ have been removed from product descriptions. A new sustainability plan has also been unveiled, aiming to make all plastic packaging recyclable or bio-based, all sites and centers to be carbon neutral and to have 95% of ingredients be bio-based by 2030. 

During May, Lululemon reported a drop in revenue by nearly 17% for the quarter. Its recent acquisition of home fitness tech startup, Mirror, is an innovative investment to bolster revenue and expand beyond apparel. Zalando is expecting to report strong Q2 sales results, citing consumer preference for digital and the expansion of its partner program as contributing factors.  

Meanwhile, things weren’t so rosy for H&M, which reported a 23% slump in half-year sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. And Gap reported a 43.1% decrease in revenue for Q1. Can its 10 year partnership with Kanye West’s Yeezy turn things around? 

For more insights into what’s shaping the industry as well as trade and people moves, check out our latest retail landscape update

Now, time to take a closer look at the successful products for SS20. Analyzing the US and UK market as a whole, did you have any of these winners in your assortment?

1. Bodysuits

While its parent category, all-in-ones, took a hit with markdowns, especially in the US with the average reduction at 50% (vs 44% in 2019), bodysuits became a viral success story. Sell outs outpaced demand with the number of styles selling out rising 50% YoY as arrivals dropped 41% YoY. The high replenishment rate of bodysuits, with 56% of styles restocked on June 30th compared to 39% a year ago, shows these items have become part of retailers’ core assortments with the same styles backed for next season. 

Classic colorways such as black, white and neutral made up over half of the styles selling out and are versatile wardrobe staples to offer at an affordable price point. In SS20, animal print bodies were on the rise and are a risk-free addition for future assortments. Lace options, however, had an advertised average discount of 40%, reflecting ‘underwear as outerwear’ dressing is an outdated notion.

2. Face masks

The unexpected accessory of 2020, at the start of the pandemic retailers pivoted their supply chains to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line workers. With over 50 countries around the world now requiring people to cover their faces when outside their homes, demand for face masks is surging globally.

best selling products

At the end of June, there were over 3,000 face mask options in stock online with retailers such as Shein, Amazon and boohoo investing the most. Plain black styles make up the majority of face masks. However, as they gain status as a fashion item, retailers are experimenting with more playful colors and graphics. In June, arrivals in pink, green, purple and yellow face masks exceeded May. Investments in spot patterns increased 84%, floral patterns 22% and animal print 5%, MoM. 

Masks matching outfits has been a consistent trend across social media (the new co-ord, perhaps?), so look to the hues and materials planned for your upcoming ranges to merchandise as an add-on purchase. When possible, consider upcycling leftover material to maintain consistency and minimize waste.

3. Shorts

As summer kicked off, shorts proved a comfortable option for enjoying outdoor activities (at a distance) and lounging around the house. The number of options selling out for menswear increased by 55% compared to last year, while womenswear was up 52%. The cycling shorts trend popularized by Kimmy K back in 2018 made a resurgence as loungewear and activewear trends influenced consumers’ at home wardrobes. The presence of this trend during the Fall 2020 runways, hints at its future longevity. For this shape to work off-season, update in knit and ribbed options and promote sportier styles when gyms reopen. 

For menswear, comfort also remained top of mind with joggers taking on the biggest proportion of the shorts assortment, a stark contrast from Spring 2019 when chinos were the most invested style. 

The success of joggers during lockdown also complimented another best-selling product…

4. Co-ord sets

Already an established trend, Spring 2020 propelled the co-ord set to new heights and its trajectory is only going up from here! An especially popular product for menswear, co-ords are a versatile trend that can slot into loungewear, nostalgic and athletic merchandise stories. The most popular combinations this season included short-sleeve & short sets and classic jersey loungewear, evoking both indoor and outdoor dressing. Promoting these styles with hoodies and track jackets will help transition warmer weather buys into fall. There is plenty of opportunity for innovative design with retailers drawing inspiration from PPE. One of the best-selling co-ords this year was a snood design from boohooMAN. 

Retailers will be relieved to know it’s not too late to jump on this trend as matching sets will continue into 2021. London’s digital fashion week provided insight into the future of co-ords, which saw designers rework the ever popular staple into their SS21 collections. Where’s it headed next? Bold, conversational prints will remain strong as well as oversized fits for T-shirts and drawstring shorts. 70s influences were drawn through embroidery, color-blocking and wide-leg sweatpants, continuing fashion’s obsession with nostalgia. 

5. Mock neck tops

Business on the top, chill on the bottom became the uniform of choice as people moved into remote work and socializing. Retailers’ assortments and communications favored ‘Zoom dressing,’ which led to tops dominating sell outs across menswear and womenswear. As a style that complements both casual workwear and relaxed loungewear, the mock neck emerged primarily across knitwear and sweaters during the transition into spring. It’s become a popular detail on tanks and bodysuits with the former seeing a 25% increase in sell outs compared to last year. The mock neck is an effortless style that can work all year round and is an easy way to update a core item. Look to incorporate this silhouette in upcoming knitwear buys and merchandise summer products in layering edits to make it work off-season. 

6. Polo shirts

In addition to remote work inspiring more relaxed dress codes, social distancing has seen interest in golf surge across all ages, boosting sell outs for the polo. This style made up 12% of men’s sell outs over SS20 compared to 10% in 2019. Color played a greater role in polo shirt assortments this spring with fashion-forward retailers dabbling in pastel and neutral hues. The timelessness of this style makes it ideal to incorporate higher quality fabrications as post-COVID mindsets shift towards quality over quantity.

7. Tie-dye

Coachella may have been canceled, but tie-dye wasn’t! The pattern was so sought-after throughout lockdown, it took off as a DIY trend with tutorials going viral across TikTok and YouTube as celebrities shared their attempts. Even with the absence of IRL festivals, this trend was heavily invested in for spring with PrettyLittleThing, Fashion Nova, boohoo and Hollister as the top stockists. 

In addition to its importance in loungewear, tie-dye saw the most success across tops where it was applied to just about every silhouette. The second-highest category selling out for menswear was product sets where it was splashed across co-ords. For womenswear, tie-dyed mini dresses and sweatpants resonated with consumers.

best selling products

Though a pattern synonymous with summer, don’t be too quick to discount. Historical data has proved tie-dye has the potential to work all year round. As an essential element within streetwear, tie-dye often features in seasonless drops and collabs. Darker washes can also apply for cooler months where it can lend itself to the prominent 70s trend in nostalgic product edits.

8. Sleepwear

Riding off loungewear’s success, sleepwear shifted into focus with menswear sell outs growing 34% while womenswear increased 50%.  Fluffy bathrobes, trend-led slippers and accessories such as sleep masks and turbans complemented the ‘bathleisure’ trend that exploded on Instagram since quarantine began and will continue to help this category flourish with consumers prioritizing self-care post-COVID. Pajamas that doubled as stylish sets featured prominently in retailers’ lockdown assortments. Going forward, items that serve as sleepwear and loungewear will be part of the ‘homewear wardrobe’, which has already been discussed as an important post-COVID trend

By tracking performing products weekly during the coronavirus recovery, EDITED data shows this is still an essential trend for the UK market. This category isn’t attached to heavy markdowns, indicating it doesn’t need aggressive discounts to sell through.  On the other hand, the US started to pivot away from this category in favor of more everyday apparel with sell outs falling last week. However, as the US faces a second wave of coronavirus and regions return to lockdown, sleepwear may fall back in favor.

9. Sandals

Across menswear, sandals made up 9% of overall footwear sell outs compared to 4% in 2019. While in womenswear, it’s currently 35% vs. 32% in 2019. With people avoiding public transport as well as picnicking and park walks turning into favored activities, flat and functional sliders commanded wide appeal. With its minimalist aesthetic, the pool slide is another item with year-round credibility that also links to streetwear assortments. Hiking influences were a top trend for Fall 2020 and sprouted up again at London’s digital fashion week through PAPER and 8IGB’s Spring 2021 collections. As lockdown measures ease, it will remain important to promote hiking inspired styles with cleated soles and functional buckles and straps. With consumers looking to spend more time outdoors, keep an emphasis on convenience and comfort.

Are you an EDITED user? Keep an eye out for our seasonal reviews by category published over the next few weeks in our Retail Reports. And for more data-charged analysis delivered straight to your inbox, sign up to our weekly Insider Briefing.