Online sales of clothing and footwear see a COVID-19-induced rise

Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski

The Polish clothing and footwear retail market will shrink in value in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Sales in all retail market segments will be lower than in 2019. There is one exception, however: e-commerce.

E-commerce helps C&F retailers limit losses from physical stores’ shutdown

For nearly two months after 14 March, online was the main, and sometimes the only way that clothing and footwear companies in Poland could sell their wares to customers. And sales at their e-shops jumped significantly.

So did clothing and footwear sales at Allegro, the largest e-commerce platform in Poland, which offers an easy way for retailers to launch online. In January-April 2020, sales of new products in the clothing and footwear category rose by 16% y-o-y, Allegro said. According to PMR’s estimates, in 2020 sales of new products on Allegro will increase by 22% compared to previous year.

For most C&F retailers, though, online could only serve to limit the revenue losses caused by the government-imposed closure of their physical stores.

Thus, for example, CCC, the leader of the footwear market in Poland, reported a 33% year-on-year slump in its Polish sales in the first quarter of 2020 – which captures only the first two weeks of the lockdown – to PLN 274.5m (€60m). At the same time, its e-commerce revenues increased by 39%.

LPP, the largest Polish clothing retailer, endured a 35% year-on-year drop in total sales in the first quarter of its fiscal year (February-April 2020), to PLN 1.19bn (€260m), according to preliminary estimates. At the same time, its e-commerce sales increased by 129%, to PLN 398m (€87m). LPP also said that in April – when almost all of its brick-and-mortal stores were closed – e-commerce sales surged by 270% y-o-y.

If there are positive gainers from the lockdown, they will be companies like Zalando or eobuwie.pl, i.e. well-established e-commerce natives who offer a highly comfortable shopping experience (fast delivery at no cost, free and easy returns).

E-commerce’s gains could outlast pandemic

All market players have been investing in novel e-commerce solutions in recent weeks, however. This will further support the shift to online shopping. It is quite possible that the rise in its popularity will outlast the pandemic. Customer attitudes could shift permanently.

Thus, for example, Quiosque, the women’s clothing chain with over 180 stores, has partnered with Fast White Cat to promote and sell its products on live streams on social media. During the streams, consumers can see products on models and make a purchase.

Eobuwie.pl has introduced a foot scanning function on its mobile app. A simplified version of its esize.me system available in Poland since October 2018, it allows customers to choose shoes that match the shape of their feet without having to try them on. All you need is an Android smartphone and an A4 sheet of white paper.

Allegro, meanwhile, has offered free delivery – hitherto available to members of its AllegroSmart! subscription programme only – to all users for a month. The special offer will last until 18 June. Delivery is free for orders of at least PLN 40 (€9) in the case of parcel locker delivery and PLN 100 (€22) in the case of courier delivery.

More info about sales of clothing and footwear goods online in PMR report: Online retail market in Poland 2020.

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