The lockdown due to coronavirus disease outbreak has restricted Indians from moving out of their homes. With the majority of the companies adopting work from home and universities and schools across the country shut down, consumers have shifted to buying only essential items.
The shift in demand to essential items is also visible in the footwear and apparel sector. Staying at home, people are discarding fashion and formal wear for casual wear like flip flops and tees. As social gatherings and parties are not possible these days, the consumers are preferring comfort wear over a costly dress. And the “work from home” approach has totally changed the needs of the shoppers, they no longer require premium apparel, and price tags also don’t matter anymore.
The major brands in India are trying to increase their ‘work from home’ collections, and business casuals segments for the people working from home who have to often attend video conferences and meetings. Both online and retail stores have seen an increase in sales of casual footwear and apparel such as slippers, t-shirts, tracks, shorts, and innerwear. Bata, one of India’s top footwear brands, that is currently promoting its products under ‘work from home’ category on its website, is expecting sales from casual slippers, floaters, and flip flops. The footwear company has also seen an increase in the purchase of products from its sports footwear brand ‘Power’, as more consumers are involved in fitness regimes at home.
“We believe, more and more organizations will adopt hybrid models (of working), people will come back (to office). But there will be more opportunity to work from home for their employees, and therefore a work from home collection is suited for that,” said, Sandeep Kataria, chief executive officer, Bata India. It is also expected that footwear in the price range below ₹1,000 will see an increase in demand and that of the more costly footwear categories such as formal shoes for men and women will take months to recover.
In the coming weeks, men’s formal wear brands including Peter England, Van Heusen, and Allen Solly will start selling and promoting more casual clothing and comfort wears considering the shoppers’ changing needs.