According to Statista, the global loungewear market is estimated to generate $37.7 billion in retail sales in 2021.
While lockdown restrictions are lifting, consumers have grown accustomed to their new, at-home wardrobe. We explore what’s working now and the trends you will need to stay ahead.
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What’s happened this past year
• The rise of loungewear was already set in motion pre-COVID, however, the global pandemic has shifted demand into a whole new gear.
• Basic tees and sweatshorts saw the highest lifts in price as interest for these products rose. While hoodies and sweatshirts dropped in price, sellouts remained strong. Smart retailers will keep pricing stable moving into FW20, especially as warmer pieces will once again be a focus.
• Sweatpants had the highest sellout rate as consumers sought a working from home wardrobe – comfy bottoms with a smarter top half. This category has also seen the most products discounted, suggesting that pricing should be re-considered.
What’s selling now?
From bright colors to its DIY appeal, tie-dye has become a favorite pattern in loungewear this year. T-shirts have been the most invested in silhouette, followed by co-ords and shorts.
The shade has become a staple favorite in menswear for a few seasons now. Pastel pinks and dusty rose colors with minimalistic designs have performed exceptionally well this summer.
Sporty side stripes
With several professional sports leagues on pause, consumers are eager to reconnect with the aesthetic. Traditionally seen on sweatpants and shorts, the trend has also recently moved to T-shirts and hoodies.
More simplistic designs have proved successful – blocking with similar shades or keeping the contrasting sections large and to a minimum. Consider transitioning the trend to knitwear and outerwear for fall.
Movies & TV
Recent streaming releases have influenced a whole host of market trends. From animal prints attributed to Tiger King to chains thanks to Normal People, Lyst also recorded a 36% increase in searches for Nike Air Jordan sneakers after The Last Dance series aired. Consumers have used cinematic experiences as a form of escapism during lockdown so be on the lookout for the next big TV license opportunity.
Looking into the future
Sales are set to increase
With many people not due to return to offices until 2021, loungewear will be a big part of the working from home wardrobe. Statista has already estimated that in 2021, the global loungewear market will generate $37.7 billion in retail sales – a 27% increase from 2016. This is not a category to ignore going forward and will hold appeal across the year.
Retailers are more engaged than ever
Google searches for loungewear peaked in April when lockdown measures were strictest, but we saw engagement from retailers spike in June with continued interest through July and now August. A clear indication this category remains a topic of importance even with distancing measures lifting. While still relevant, activewear has been outshone with all things cozy as retailers look to get a handle on this category.
5 trends you need
After Harry Styles kick-started a crochet revolution on TikTok on top of the launch of Taylor Swift Folklore album, the cardigan is back on the radar. With rising trends like cottagecore and the need for cozy clothing at home, consumers will continue to seek out this piece, especially moving into the fall season. Pricing is at its highest since July last year, showing how more retailers are recognizing this increase in demand. Zara’s craft-inspired oversized option had a majority SKU sell out in the UK at full price (£49.99). Zippers offer a smarter aesthetic and work well in classic hues and fine gauge knits.
2. Lounge shirting
As more remote working consumers look to stay smart while remaining comfortable, revere collars have had increased SKU activity. They’re being featured more on basic styles in block colors as part of at-home wardrobe edits. BoohooMAN has championed them for co-ord looks. Transition to long-sleeved shirting and matching drawstring trouser combos for fall.
Zara also recently launched a range featuring adjustable sleeves in linen/cotton blends. Both breathable fabrics and hybrid apparel will be essential for loungewear shirting moving forward.
The demand for eco-friendly apparel is growing. Google searches for Pangaia, a developing sustainable loungewear brand, spiked numerous times during lockdown. The unisex, minimalistic separates have gained a cult following including celebrities and influencers.
Looking products in-stock now, New Look (UK), PacSun (US) and Gap (UK) are the top stockists of eco-friendly loungewear. Key fabrics include recycled and organic cotton and recycled polyester. Retailers should look to invest in sustainable alternatives to engage conscious consumers and expand their offering.
4. Fabric blends
With comfort the essential feature to loungewear, we’ve noted a rise in blended fabrics to add a more luxe touch without the high price tag. Linen/cotton mixes have been most popular this spring and will continue to progress in 2021. As we move into fall, we note cashmere and cotton mixes coming through for hoodies, sweatshirts and cardigans.
Opt for organic or recycled cotton here to appeal to the aforementioned growing eco-conscious customer base. Reiss has recently launched a luxe loungewear collection in soft, neutral tones utilizing luxurious blends, including cashmere. Silk has also emerged, again blended with cotton, and in some cases cashmere or wool.
The recent attention on cozy apparel has seen consumers seek out comfortable underwear too. According to Statista, the value of the US boxer briefs market is expected to rise to $1.03 billion by 2025, offering huge potential.
While SS20 underwear arrivals took on 6% less of the assortment compared to SS19 (when looking alongside hosiery, swim and nightwear), pricing for singles and packs rose. Retailers are stocking higher-quality fabrics. Uniqlo’s median price point rose 68% in the UK and 107% in the US YoY as the retailer focused on its Airism and Supima cotton styles. Zara followed suit with a big YoY drop in arrivals but a rise in median price from £7.99 to £9.99 in the UK, highlighting the use of mercerized finishes to improve luster. Customers were not deterred, seen in the 58% sellout rate in the UK and 43% in the US – significantly higher than last year’s cheaper offerings. While multi-packs will remain important, pull back to allow for more luxe fabric singles.
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