According to Technavio’s latest report, the sleep and loungewear market is poised to accelerate at a CAGR of almost 9% by 2024.
Thanks to the advent of at-home wardrobes across 2020, we reflect on the trends that sold, spring trends and communication opportunities for 2021.
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Learnings from 2020
The sleepwear surge
As we all know, comfort defined fashion in 2020. The sustained sleepwear boom can be attributed to this with consumer spending still focused on building out homewear wardrobes. Sleep wellness has also seen significant interest. This newfound attention on this category was reflected through retailer communications; 45% more emails mentioned nightwear across 2020 vs. 2019. With cozy dressing here to stay and customers continuing to work from home, more brands have pivoted into nightwear.
A report by Technavio estimates that the sleep and loungewear market is poised to grow by $19.5bn during 2020-2024. This, coupled with EDITED data revealed that Q4 sellouts were up by 46% YoY and highlights the opportunities within the market.
What did consumers buy?
- Modal: With comfort fabrics king, sleepwear crafted from modal have seen high SKU activity, especially at mid & mature labels.
- Grey tones: Similarly to loungewear and slippers, soft shades resonated well. Sell outs of grey tones outpaced arrivals, suggesting room for investment.
- Family pajamas: Matching mini-me sets were a winner, particularly for those in the value market. Slogans, plaid and Disney licensing formed the top print trends.
- Statement satin: Bold designs were popular which dressed up bedtime wardrobes and suited for daywear. River Island saw success with its feather-trim set.
- Fluffy robes: A key cozy and gifting piece, gowns with fuzzy textures dominated, where pink and grey tones prevailed. The piece also falls into the bathleisure story.
- Piped PJs: This design detail was seen widely on Instagram and emulates a premium aesthetic. Modal styles at Gap and Hush performed well, alongside satin/silk options at Nasty Gal and Topshop.
- Star print: The celestial pattern was also prominently seen across retailers’ Instagram feeds ahead of Christmas and moved well across robes, satin sets and fleece fabrics on both neutral and dark grounds.
- Eco fabrics at H&M: A nightshirt and wide-leg pajama pants crafted from woven Tencel™ lyocell sold out in under a month in the UK and US. The set was promoted in an email, proving the power of communications.
Who’s new to the sleepwear space
- The fast-fashion retailer’s new spring collection features a blue striped PJ set and 100% cotton separates, including wide-leg trousers.
- Price range: £19.99/$29.90-£25.99/$39.90
- The debut collection comprises PJs made from silk cotton in the label’s signature playful prints. It also stocks eye masks and nightdresses.
- Price range: £65.00-£260.00
- The fitness brand launched a sleep line in late December consisting of “crazy-soft sleep sets” featuring pajamas, sleep bras and rompers.
- Price range: $34.00-$64.00
- The cult label partnered with luxury retailer Browns on an exclusive pajama set complete with ruffle sleeves and an embroidered logo.
- Price range: £115.00-£165.00
- The casualwear label known for its tracksuits branched into nightwear in Q4. Pieces include branded piped satin sets and robes.
- Price range: £28.00-£80.00
- The range consists of sports-inspired cozy underwear and sleepwear, alongside boxer shorts and camis and piped cotton pajamas.
- Price range: £75.00/$95.00-£205.00/$265.00
Fast-fashion retailers are growing assortments
As the assortment charts below depict, fast-fashion brands have increased their share of sleepwear in category mixes to gain a slice of the at-home market, while decreasing buys of categories including all-in-ones and dresses. In The Style’s sleep range has notably grown from just 0.2% to 5.4%.
New season trends
- Satin: Offering the aesthetic of silk with a more affordable price tag, both Nasty Gal and I Saw It Fist have introduced multi-piece satin sets with matching sleep masks, scrunchies and travel bags.
- Revere shirts: Tapping into trends of boyfriend dressing and minimalism, this classic collared shirt style is popular among new arrivals. Contrast piping is a common detail.
- Ribbed fabrics: For fall 2020, retailers used ribbing to update categories such as basics and knitwear. For spring 2021, we’re seeing the trend spill over into nightwear.
- Pink: The top stocked hue of the season so far, pink arrivals outpace black and neutral. Pastel shades are prominent, while hot pink is noted at Boux Avenue, Victoria’s Secret and PrettyLittleThing.
- Bralette sets: Newly landed at Lulu’s and Boux Avenue, this micro trend is one to watch. Fusing comfort with occasion, this product is ideal to promote ahead of Valentine’s Day.
- Licensing: Disney licenses are noted at boohoo, Marks & Spencer and George at ASDA. Mean Girls is a stand-out at I Saw It First featuring iconic motifs from the movie.
- Lace trims: Popular across silhouettes, this detail adds a touch of femininity to sleepwear. While eyelash lace is popular at boohoo, others are using elastane blends to add stretch and comfort.
- Organic: Esprit is one of the most invested retailers in eco nightwear, incorporating 100% organic cotton and LENZING™ ECOVERO™. Tencel™ Modal is of note at GAP and Victoria’s Secret.
What does tomorrow hold?
What’s new in the world of sleep wellness
John Lewis & Partners is capitalizing on its position as a department store by offering multi-category encompassing virtual sleep wellness appointments. Areas of focus include choosing the right mattress, bedding, technology and general sleep wellness. The service is free with no minimum spend.
2021 has seen the launch of WAVE, an app that offers real-time sleep sessions that kick off every 30 minutes. The host plays relaxing music, tells stories and offers guided meditations to help lull the listener into a deep sleep.
In beauty, products such as pillow sprays, rollerball oils and overnight skincare products are on the rise. Bluetooth sleep masks are taking off on Amazon. Devices that block light and contain integrated audio to make listening to meditation apps and calming music as comfortable as possible.
Pinterest pinpointed sleep as a key trend for 2021, noting rising searches for terms such as sleep affirmations, bedtime yoga, silk sleepwear and sleep diffuser blends. These searches indicate a growing interest in bedtime rituals and sleep improvement.
Direction from the Spring & Pre-Fall 2021 runways
Key trends from the most recent collections include pastels, candy stripes, oversized button-up sets and vintage-inspired nightdresses. Silk and satin emerged as important fabrics – a trend also reflected in Pinterest searches and new season arrivals. Look to #regencycore and the Bridgerton aesthetic for night gown inspiration, incorporating feminine details and colorways. Consider offering matching headscarves, sleep masks or slippers to maximize basket spend.
How to communicate sleepwear in 2021
1. The average person spends a third of their life sleeping, so nightwear should be an investment. Sleep is also known to aid mental health and boost happiness levels, making it a form of self-care. Highlight these points in communications to help underline the importance of this category.
2. Comfort remains a top priority for consumers. So emphasize fit and feel in communications, spotlighting fabric quality and technologies.
3. Tap into nostalgia by evoking childhood memories of sleepovers and pajama parties. Merchandise elevated styles such as silk sets around occasion periods such as the holidays and New Year’s Eve, using high-low styling cues such as pairing with heels and statement jewelry.
Contributions by Katharine Carter and Aoife Byrne.
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